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Entries in Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri (23)


The Latest from Iran (28 December): The Regime's Arresting Strategy

ASHURA52115 GMT: Battling with Statements. The Assembly of Combatant Clergymen has condemned those it says are responsible for violence on Ashura, namely the security forces and plainclothes militia: "The Almighty God will cut off the hands of these deceived fools." The Assembly added:
Today we should cry blood that on the day of Hossein’s Aashura and after all sorts of insults to Imam Khomeini’s family and his legacy by the phony defenders of the revolution, there was an attack on the prayer hall [in Jamaran, where former President Khatami was speaking] that is a reminder of the name and memory of the Imam. The peaceful ritual of commemorating Aashura was attacked by clubs, batons and chains and by insulting slogans. Those who [did this] made the utmost insults to both Ashura and Imam Khomeini and then beat and bashed innocent people.

Daftar-Tahkim-Vahdat, the main reformist Student Alumni Organisation, also issued a statement:
What a regret that a government that considers itself to be risen from religious teachings and a national revolution, on the noon of Ashura opens fire on innocents and does what even the most notorious rulers of this country throughout the history [e.g. the Shah deposed in 1979] had not dared to do.

2055 GMT: Taking Sides? We've posted the video of President Obama's statement (see 2020 GMT) and it's even harder-hitting than we thought:"History will be on the side of those who seek justice"

2035 GMT: How Many Detained Yesterday? Rah-e-Sabz reports that 400 to 500 protesters were arrested Sunday in Isfahan, including the brother and two nephews of former Minister of Interior Abdollah Nouri. Human Rights Activists News Agency are now saying 1100 people have been transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran.

2025 GMT: Dastghaib Calls for A Movement. Ayatollah Dastgheib has issued a statement for fellow marja (high-ranking clerics) to join him in calling on the Government to adhere to the Constitution.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Obama Condemns “Violent & Unjust Suppression” (28 December)
NEW Iran: Ashura’s Message “Iranians Are Not Punching Bags” (Josh Shahryar)
NEW Iran: A Point of No Return?
Iran: A 5-Minute, 5-Point Reaction to The Events of Ashura
Iran: The False US Friends of the “Iranian People” (An Open Letter to Charles Krauthammer)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 3rd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 2nd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December)
The Latest from Iran (27 December): The Day of Ashura

2020 GMT: Obama Speaks. The US Government has definitely decided to throw rhetorical support behind the Iranian opposition. The President, in a press conference which will focus on the foiled attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound jet, has taken the time to comment on events in Iran.

Obama hailed the "courage and conviction" of Iran's people and said the Government must respect their rights:

We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained....The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens. What is talking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country. It is about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice.

1900 GMT: They Burned 18 Garbage Bins?! Sometimes you have to admire the Iranian regime. It is walking a fine line between showing that Sunday's protests were serious enough that the demonstrators must be punished but not so serious enough that they pose a threat to the regime. This is tonight's magical public-relations solution:
Head of the Public Relations office of Tehran's Safety Services and Firefighting Organization Behrouz Tashakkor said 838 firefighters were dispatched to various locations in Tehran on Ashura. "Nine residential buildings, 9 vehicles, 7 shops, 2 banks and 3 power stations were set on fire [by anti-government protestors]," Tashakkor said.

The Iranian official added that "18 garbage bins" were also set on fire.

1855 GMT: Karroubi Targeted? Saham News reports that Mehdi Karoubi, attending an Ashura mourning ceremony with his family, was attacked by plainclothes militia as he left the mosque. Karoubi’s car was attacked and vandalised, breaking the front windscreen, before onlookers intervened.

1840 GMT: More on Emad Baghi's Arrest (see 1140 GMT). An EA contact has given us the following information:

This morning plainclothes officers entered Baghi's home, with others standing at the door. They insulted his wife and daughters and turned him home into a garrison and badly beat his brother-in-law. As Baghi was taken away, he read a verse of the Qu'ran calling for tolerance and patience in difficulties. One of his captors said, "His life is short enough that he can see the future."

One of the accusations against Baghi is his interview with the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri in a movie recently broadcast by BBC Persian.

Baghi's whereabouts tonight are unknown.

1740 GMT: The BBC has published a comprehensive list of Western countries which have strongly criticised the Iranian Government's bloody crackdown and called for Tehran's restraint.

1555 GMT: Where is Mousavi's Body? According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, the body of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali is being held by Government authorities while investigations are carried out on a death "under suspicious circumstances".

1530 GMT: Javan Farda reports that the son of Ayatollah Jaleleddin Taheri has been arrested in Isfahan. Taheri has been under pressure in recent days after his attempt to lead a memorial service for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

1444 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz is reporting that metro stations in central Tehran have been closed. The likelihood is that this is because of Government fears of escalation of protests at 7 Tir Square.

1440 GMT: Arresting the Martyr's Mother. One of "the others" arrested at the house of activist Mahin Fahimi (see 1335 GMT) was the mother of Sohrab
, who came to prominence when it emerged in July that he died from Basiji gunfire on 15 June.

1435 GMT: First Clashes of Today? We are getting reports of a crowd gathering in Tehran's 7 Tir Square and clashes with security forces.

1405 GMT: Keeping Rafsanjani in a Box. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani did not make an appearance yesterday, but that does not mean that the regime pressure on relented --- indeed, since that pressure might have muted Rafsanjani on Ashura, why not maintain it?

Fars News keeps up the campaign this morning, claiming that Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh Hashemi joined "rioters" on Ashura after spending her holidays in the north of Iran (in other words, she partied during the first days of Moharram and joined the protests just for fun).

1400 GMT: The Arrests. Another vital list, this one from Neo-Resistance, which posts these details of arrests:

Ebrahim Yazdi (former Foreign Minister)
Emad-e'Din Baghi (Human Rights Activist)
Morteza Hadji (Minister of educaion during Khatami era)
Leila Tavassoli, daughter of Mohammad Tavassoli
Seyed Hosein Mousavi Tabrizi (Head of the clerical Association of Teachers and Researchers of Qom)
Alireza Beheshti Shirazi (Editor in Chief of Mousavi's online journal Kalameh Sabz)
Ghorban Behzadian Nejad (Mousavi consultant)
Mohamad Bagherian (Mousavi consultant)
Rasouli (deputy of President Khatami's Baran Foundation)
Forouzandeh (Manager of Mousavi's office)
Mohammad Sadegh Rabbani (retired university professor who used to be the general prosecutor 20 years ago, arrested yesterday 27 December)
Mohammad Moin (son of former Presidential candidate Mostafa Moin, the former Minister of Science and higher education, arrested 27 December)
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi (Student Activist)
Haleh Sahabi (Women's Rights activist)

1355 GMT: Reports that journalist Mostafa Izadi arrested.

1350 GMT: We Break for This Official Announcement. Press TV: "Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy commander of Iran's armed forces, on Monday defined the 'actions of a group of hooligans on such days of mourning' as another 'low act' incomparable to anything seen before. He described the 'small group of vandals' as marginal compared to 'millions of real Ashura mourners'."

Now back to regular programming....

1342 GMT: Essential Information. HomyLafayette has posted a summary with information on those swept up in the Government's wave of arrests. Josh Shahryar has compiled information, complete with map, on the locations across Iran of protests yesterday. And an EA reader points us to an excellent collection of photographs from the Ashura protests.

1335 GMT: Claims coming in that Government forces entered the home of peace activist Mahin Fahimi, arresting her, her son, and others.

1303 GMT: Mousavi's Body. We continue follow conflicting reports over the fate of the body of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali with reports that it was taken from the Ebn -e-Sina Hospital by Government authorities.

1258 GMT: Deaths and Arrests. One of those killed yesterday was the son of Shahin Mahinfar, the prominent IRIB journalist.

An Iranian source reports that Abolfazl Ghadyani of the Mojahedin has been arrested.

1236 GMT: There are unconfirmed reports that the head of the Iranian Embassy in Norway has resigned citing his support of the green movement.

1205 GMT: The Human Rights Activists News Agency claims that 550 people arrested on Sunday have been transferred to Evin Prison.

1200 GMT: Answering Our Question. Masoud at The Newest Deal has a lengthy analysis which responds to our interim assessment this morning, "Point of No Return?". His reply? "One thing that is certain is that there is no turning back."

1140 GMT: The Regime Strikes Back (Cont.). The strategy of the Government is to "break" the movement --- much as it appeared to do in June, in July, in August, in September --- with arrests and disruption of communications.

EA sources confirm that Emad Baghi, the founder of the Association for Defense of Prisoners Rights, has been arrested. (Parleman News has now reported this.) A reliable source writes that Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, leader of the banned Democratic Front of Iranian People, has been taken from his home.

The site Rah-e-Sabz is under sustained cyber-attack and, of course, Kalemeh has been hindered by the arrest of its editor (see 1040 GMT). It is also reported that Etemaad newspaper has been closed.

1040 GMT: The Regime Strikes Back. A pattern is emerging of the Iranian Government trying to regain the initiative through arrests last night and this morning. Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, the editor of Mir Hossein Mousavi's Kalemeh, has been detained.

1010 GMT: The Mousavi "Assassination" Story (The Official Iran Version). Fars News tries to put both the Ashura demonstrations and the death of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew into "proper" perspective. As with the death of Neda Agha Soltan in June, the killing of Seyed Ali Mousavi was carried out by specially-trained teams, linked to the 10 "terrorists" slain by Iranian forces. The story will then be taken up by foreign media as proof of the evil of Iran's regime.

0955 GMT: The Mousavi "Assassination" Story. The New York Times has a lengthy and very useful article, written by Robert Worth and Nazila Fathi. In the review of Sunday's events, one passage is striking, especially if the line is taken up by other US media (who have in past have been fond of filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf as a "spokesman" for the Green movement):
Unlike the other protesters reported killed on Sunday, Ali Moussavi [the nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi] appears to have been assassinated in a political gesture aimed at his uncle, according to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an opposition figure based in Paris with close ties to the Moussavi family.

Mr. Moussavi was first run over by a sport utility vehicle outside his home, Mr. Makhmalbaf wrote on his Web site. Five men then emerged from the car, and one of them shot Mr. Moussavi.

0950 GMT: Correct us if we're wrong, but it appears that the reformist site Rah-e-Sabz, an important source for news, has not updated since 0120 GMT (4:50 a.m. in Tehran).

0935 GMT: Non-Violence and Self-Defense. We've posted a provocative analysis by Josh Shahryar of the events of Ashura, "Iranians Are Not Punching Bags".

0930 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz has more on what appears to be a Government raid on the offices of the Assembly of Teachers and Researchers of Qom. Earlier it was reported that Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi, the head of the Assembly, was arrested.

0845 GMT: The Regime (Tries to) Strike Back. Unconfirmed reports that, in addition to the arrest of prominent reformist Ebrahim Yazdi, Iranian authorities have detained Mir Hossein Mousavi's advisors Mohammad Baghriyan and Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad.

0755 GMT: We're still getting amazing video from yesterday. The latest clip --- of heavily-armed security forces pinned back against a wall by protesters --- will go up in two minutes.

0745 GMT: A day to catch up with news, to stand back and assess.

My own impression --- and this is personal, not an "official" EA line --- is that the protests of Ashura were an important marker that the Iranian Government will not stand, at least with its current President and its current political approach. How much farther this goes --- is this now an indication that only sweeping changes in the Iranian system, extending to the authority of the Supreme Leader, will avert even more dramatic showdowns? --- is what I cannot quite grasp.

We've posted two "thinkpieces" setting out the possibilities: late last night, I wrote a "5-Minute, 5-Point Reaction" and this morning we've set out some thoughts in "A Point of No Return?"

Latest Iran Video: Eve of Ashura Protests (26 December --- The Jamaran Videos)





Khatami's Entrance into Jamaran


"Montazeri, Sane'i Are Real Clerics"




Inside Hosseinieh, Jamaran


Gunfire in Tehran Tonight




Tehran, Vanak Square


Tehran, Bahonar Square


Jamaran, northern Tehran

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The Latest from Iran (25 December): A Pause before Ashura?

MOHARRAM12130 GMT: Hot Gossip of Night. There is a statement lurking on Hashemi Rafsanjani's website in which the former President uses the story of Imam Hossein, the third Imam whose death is marked by the ceremony of Ashura on Sunday, to argued that it is important to keep public consciousness alive.

Rafsanjani puts forth Hossein's opposition to the caliph as the most significant political movement in the last 1400 years, with its promotion of virtues and condemnation of injustice and evil. And, in an all-too-obvious parallel with the 21st century, he asserts that Hoseein was accused of having revolted for power and collaborated with foreigners to which the Imam answered: "I'm not revolting to Govern; my revolt is to protect and correct the course of the disciples of my ancestor [the Prophet Mohammad]."

I say that the statement is "lurking" because it has not been picked up by other Iranian media and Rafsanjani has not moved to exploit it in another public forum....yet.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Montazeri’s Farewell Speech (November 2009)
REVIVED Iran Top-Secret: The President’s Gmail Account
Latest Iran Video: Tehran Protests (23-24 December)
Iran: The Momentum of Protest (It’s No Longer Just….)

1900 GMT: Iran's Nuclear Programme. On a relatively slow news day, an EA reader has pointed out the recent Doha Debate on the subject. Participants include Mahjoob Zweiri of the Centerfor Strategic Studies in Jordan, Seyed Mohammad Marandi of Tehran University, Baria Alamuddin of Al-Hayat, and Alireza Nourizadeh of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London.

1850 GMT: Kalemeh is reporting that there will be no Ashura services in the Imam Khomeini mausoleum this year.

1800 GMT: Tonight's Hot Rumour. The chatter, supported by an article in Parleman News, is that former Presidnet Mohammad Khatami will speak tomorrow after the local Tasua service (6 p.m. local time) in Hosseiniyeh No. 1 in Jamaran in north Tehran.

1755 GMT: Repeating the Ashura Demonstration Routes. The plans for marches in 22 Iranian cities on Sunday (see 1415 GMT) have now also been posted by Unity4Iran.

1530 GMT: Regime Message --- Desecration, Mousavi, and Sane'i. Fars News is headlining a supposedly very large demonstration in Qom condemning the "desecrations" of the rallies after the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. The pro-regime protesters called for the arrest of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and, perhaps most strikingly, chanted, "Death to Sane'i", the reformist cleric who has been in the forefront of commemorations for Montazeri and challenges to the Government.

1520 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Update. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami in Tehran today saying, Don't Demonstrate. Really --- Don't. "Our mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussein should not make the enemies of Islam pleased since Imam Hussein is ... the symbol of unity, so the ceremonies should not be used as platform for disunity," said Khatami. He added that if people do demonstrate, it is because they are supported by the US, Israel, and other bad countries.

1420 GMT: Memorial Defiance. Despite the Government prohibition on ceremonies, Ayatollah Taheri has announced that "7th day" memorials of the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri will be held on Saturday night and Sunday (coinciding with Ashura) in Isfahan.

1415 GMT: Routes for demonstrations on Tasua and Ashura (26-27 December) in 22 Iranian cities have been posted.

1152 GMT: A Not-So-Happy New Year for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad? An EA correspondent passes on information from the Economist Intelligence Unit, one of the foremost locations of analysis in Britain, with its latest views on Iran. The entire report is worth a read, but the opening summary is enough to raise eyebrows:

Public criticism of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, because of his direct intervention in the political domain has exposed a large breach in Iran's s intricate power structure, which may weaken his authority in 2010-11.

The position of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will be increasingly challenged by sections of the clerical establishment, as well as by his reformist and pragmatic-conservative opponents, following his divisive re-election.

1140 GMT: An Opening in Nuke Talks? Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has told Iranian state television that Iran "does not have a problem with Turkish soil" for an exchange of enriched uranium. If true, that would be a shift from Tehran's insistence since November that a swap had to occur inside Iran.

1025 GMT: Marches continue in Tehran. Reports that Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri was present at the mourning service in Khomeni Shahr --- video has now been posted.

0915 GMT: Reports of Moharram gatherings in Tehran, watched over by security forces.

0910 GMT: The "Proper" Demonstrations. Nice example of ignoring events to tell the "right" story on Press TV's website: there is a lengthy piece on "Zanjan, venue of world's largest mourning parade". This is the gathering today on the 8th day of Moharram, which is expected to draw more than 200,000 Shi'a followers.

Funny, but there's no mention at all in the article of the other reason why Zanjan is making headlines this week (albeit not in Iranian state media): it was the site of the cancelled memorial for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri yesterday.

0730 GMT: During this week of memorials to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, we've posted the video of what is claimed to be his last public speech.

And, for a bit of flashback fun on this day, we've revived Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's top-secret Gmail account.

0620 GMT: Today, 24 hours before the fast day of Tasua and 48 hours before the commemoration of Ashura, has started relatively quietly. There is talk of memorials for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, but so far no confirmation of demonstrations. Meanwhile, the unconfirmed news is that a grandson of Montazeri was arrested.

Latest Iran Video: Montazeri's Farewell Speech (November 2009)


The Latest from Iran (24 December): Another Day, Another Demonstration

MOHARRAM32100 GMT: Culture and Politics. Days after Mir Hossein Mousavi was dismissed as head of Iran's Art Academy, the president of Iran’s Academy of Medical Sciences has been removed for criticising the imprisonment of political activists.

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.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Tehran Protests (23-24 December)
NEW Iran: The Momentum of Protest (It’s No Longer Just….)
Iran Video & Transcript: Ahmadinejad Interview with Britain’s Channel 4 (23 December)
Latest Iran Video: Najafabad, Isfahan, and Mashhad Protests (23 December)
Iran: Is the US Government Now Going to Engage with the Opposition?
Iran Analysis: The Regime’s Cracks Widen, The Wave Resurges?
NEW Iran: Is Ayatollah Sane’i The Next Montazeri?

The Latest from Iran (23 December): This Time, No Pause?

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.