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Entries in Elm-o-Sanat University (9)


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






UPDATED Iran Video: University Demonstrations for Montazeri, against Regime (22 December)

"This month is the month of blood; Seyed Ali [Supreme Leader Khamenei] is overthrown"


Latest Iran Video: 100,000s in Last Goodbye to Montazeri (21 December)
Latest Iran Video: Mourning Montazeri (21 December — 2nd Set)
Latest Iran Video: Mourning Montazeri (21 December — 1st Set)
The Latest from Iran: Momentum against a Sinking President? (22 December)

Sharif University, Tehran


Azad University, Tehran


Elm-o-Sanat University, Tehran


Kurdistan University




The Latest from Iran: Momentum against a Sinking President? (22 December)

MONTAZERI FUNERAL52310 GMT: Moving Towards Qom. More chatter on the post-funeral tension in Qom --- Norooz claims people are moving from Isfahan and Najafabad to "defend" the house of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

2300 GMT: Mahmoud Fights Back? On a day which began with our analysis that the President is scrambling to maintain any legitimacy, it appears he tried to send out a signal tonight with the dismissal of Mir Hossein Mousavi as head of the Arts Institute. Salaam News reports that Ahmadinejad flew back from Shiraz just for the meeting deciding on the sacking of Mousavi and will now return to Shiraz.

Then again, one wonders if that will be enough to show Mahmoud's muscle. According to Peyke Iran, only 40 people were on hand to greet Ahmadinejad at Shiraz's airport this morning.

NEW Latest Iran Video: University Demonstrations for Montazeri (22 December)
NEW Iran Special Analysis: After Montazeri — From Protest to Victory?
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Last Goodbye to Montazeri (21 December)
Latest Iran Video: Mourning Montazeri (21 December — 2nd Set)
Latest Iran Video: Mourning Montazeri (21 December — 1st Set)
Iran & The Nuclear Talks: The View from Tehran
Iran Video & Text: Montazeri’s Son Saeed On His Father’s Views, Last Words
The Latest From Iran (21 December): The Montazeri Funeral

2230 GMT: Back from break to find discussion still going on about possible paramilitary/security forces threat to Ayatollah Sane'i, with Rouydad saying that followers have declared their readiness to defend the cleric.

1930 GMT: is reporting that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has been finally removed from the directorship of the Farhangestan Institute of Arts - Ali Moallem has been selected as his replacement. The move was decided by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which decides on major cultural issues.

1730 GMT: The Internet is buzzing with stories that Government supporters and plainclothes officers have attacked the offices of Ayatollah Sane'i, following vandalism against Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's house and image yesterdat. There is also chatter that a permit has been given for a Basiji march on Sane'I's offices on Wednesday. A story in Radio Zaamaneh summarises the chatter.

Given the volatile situation in Qom, we are being very careful with the reports, which we cannot verify.
1645 GMT: We're off for a holiday break this evening, returning for a wrap-up of the day's events later. Thanks to all for ideas and contributions today.

1545 GMT: Hitting Back. More on that "Ayatollah" we mentioned briefly earlier (1208 GMT), who was taking a shot at both Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and those who mourned him yesterday: it's the Supreme Leader's representative to the Revolutionary Guard, Mojtaba Zolnour.

Zolnour said, "Ayatollah Montazeri was a deputy to Imam Khomeini who misused his power...and meddled in the country's affairs and this served as one of the reasons for his dismissal." As for the crowd in Qom, Zolnour snapped, "Certain individuals...have engaged in confronting the religious leadership...These opportunistic individuals ... engaged in creating chaos, breaking car windows and chanting anti-leadership slogans to destroy the Islamic establishment."

1530 GMT: Regime Tensions? An article in the reformist Rooz Online claims to document unease between Iran's armed forces and the Revolutionary Guard.

1430 GMT: Karroubi Spreads His Message. Another interview with Mehdi Karroubi in the "Western" media, this time in The Times of London. Karroubi, answering written questions, maintains both his defiance and his criticism of the regime while seeking a return to the "right" path of the Islamic Republic and Ayatollah Khomeini:

In today’s Iran, republicanism and Islamism are severely damaged and a lot of the revolution’s principles and the Imam’s have been undermined....If the Imam were alive, without doubt this would not have happened....As one of the Imam’s students and close friends I frankly say that those who claim to act on his thoughts had the least personal, emotional and intellectual closeness to him.

The significance of the statement is almost lost, however, amidst near-farcical ineptitude by Times journalists. They fail to set the interview in the context of the developments since the weekend. Far worse, they headline the article with a "surprising twist": "Mehdi Karroubi warned the West against exploiting the regime’s weakness to strike a deal to halt a nuclear programme that was, he insisted, for peaceful purposes." This is based on the following Karroubi quote:
Nuclear science and achieving peaceful nuclear technology is a right reserved for all NPT [Nuclear Proliferation Treaty] members. We ask Western governments not to use this internal situation as a bargaining chip with the present Iranian Government to reach agreements which would undermine the rights of the Iranian people.

Far from outing himself as a nuclear hardliner (which is a dreadful misrepresentation that has led some in the US to keep the Green movement as arm's length), Karroubi is simply asserting that nuclear power (not nuclear weapons) is a sovereign right. More importantly, his message is that the "West" should not give the Iranian Government legitimacy --- a legitimacy it has failed to establish at home --- through a high-profile agreement.

So a valuable opportunity wasted. Pearls before swine, as my grandmother used to say....

1330 GMT: We're Watching You. An Iranian blogger has posted photographs of Government operatives filming and photographing yesterday's crowd in Qom.

1215 GMT: Today's Protests. We've posted the first claimed video of demonstrations at Elm-o-Sanat and Kurdistan Universities.

1208 GMT: Propaganda of Day. There is the same exact story in both IRNA and Fars News of an Ayatollah denouncing yesterday's demonstrations in Qom, but that's a trifle compared to Fars' attempted top story. Apparently there will be a "large gathering" of people in Qom this afternoon to denounce the recent treatment of the image of Ayatollah Khomeini.

To illustrate the story, Fars has a photo of a recent "large gathering", presumably from last :


1200 GMT: Similar coverage of the Ahmadinejad speech, albeit with a lot more extracts from the speech, by Islamic Republic News Agency.

1155 GMT: And Here's Mahmoud. A massive surprise here: according to Press TV, the President avoided any reference to internal events in his speech in Shiraz and kept it international by attacking the US:
The problem is that the US seeks to dominate the Middle East but the Iranian nation is an obstacle....The nuclear game is repetitious, old-fashioned and boring. Say publicly that you are seeking dominance over the Middle East but Iran does not allow [you]....The world should know that the Iranian nation and the regional countries will make it impossible for the US to dominate the Middle East.

There was more tough talk for Washington on Iran's nuclear potential:
[You should] know that if we wanted to build bombs, we had enough courage to announce that we were making bombs. We are a great and brave nation. We told you that we will launch the [nuclear] fuel cycle and we did it. We told you that we will industrialize the fuel production and we did it....We told you that we will launch a new generation of centrifuges and we did.

No indication in the Press TV article, either in text or photographs, to the size of the crowd, let alone the events of the last 48 hours.

1150 GMT: Sideshows. In case you want a diversion from the main event, here's Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki being tough with France on the nuclear issue: "The French must try to avoid the failed policies that Washington and London have employed during the past few years. It is better for Paris to adopt a policy that is in accordance with the country's prestige."

Or you can tune in to Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, waving his fist: "My belief remains that political means are the best tools to attain regional security and that military force will have limited results. However, should the president call for military options, we must have them ready."

1140 GMT: Claims of student protests at Tehran Azad University and at Oloom Tahghighat University.

1130 GMT: No clashes reported at the Beheshti University protest. Meanwhile, reports that more than 50 (one report says 230) Najafabad University students have been summoned for disciplinary action, presumably in connection with protests surrounding the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

There is also a report that electricity was cut off to a student residence at Razi University in Kermanshah, with students ordered to remain in their rooms, to prevent protests.

1100 GMT: Demonstrations v. The President. News is emerging of a protest at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, with students demanding the release of classmates arrested on 16/17 Azar (7-8 December). There are also reports of demonstrations at Elm-o-Sanat University in the capital. Reports indicate that security forces have surrounded the campuses to prevent protest moving to Tehran streets.

Meanwhile, we are looking for news on President Ahmadinejad's appearance in Shiraz. Activists are claiming that the regime struggled to get an audience of 10,000.

0945 GMT: From Protest to Victory? We've posted a special analysis, in light of the events of the last 48 hours: "Is there any possibility of a 'movement from below' that frames and presses demands to a satisfactory conclusion?"

0803 GMT: The Iconic Video? We've posted a lengthy (4+ minutes) video of yesterday's crowd in Qom. Words cannot summarise it.

(But, to raise a smile, set this footage against the claim in the pro-regime newspaper Kayhan, noted in yesterday's updates, that "a maximum of 5000 people" turned out.)

0800 GMT: The President's Test. Ahmadinejad is now in Shiraz. We're monitoring carefully both for his statement and any news on the size and mood of the crowd.

0745 GMT: A later and quieter start to the morning after the drama, sorrow, anger, and hope of the last 48 hours. We're working on a special analysis evaluating the significance of the events surrounding Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's death: is this now the next great Green wave of change?

In this context, there is an unintentionally funny sideshow exposing both the weakness of a President and his best (if unintentional) friend yesterday: the American ABC News. Last night Ahmadinejad appeared on the channel which, for days, had been shouting about its "exclusive" interview with the US Public Enemy Number One.

Here are ABC's self-promoting highlights of the discussion: 1) "Iran Prez Won't Say Yes-or-No to Nuclear Bomb"; 2) "Obama Didn't Deserve Nobel Prize"; 3) "Ahmadinejad Defiant Over Sanctions Threat"; 4) "Hiker's Mom Made Christmas Appeal to Ahmadinejad" [three US citizens, detained after they entered Iranian territory this autumn, remain under threat of trial for espionage]. Because the story was written soon after the interview was taped last week, there was no reference to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri or any considered question about the political challenge to the President and the regime.

(In grudging fairness, it appears that ABC re-positioned the clips they showed last night to get some connection with developments. Diane Sawyer's lead question, over archive shots of mass demonstrations this summer, was whether Ahmadinejad would guarantee that protesters would be safe. Ahmadinejad's response: "Can the people in America come on the streets anytime they want?"

That --- again to give some redemption to ABC --- brought out a telling moment. When Sawyer assured Ahmadinead that, yes, with a permit Americans could demonstrate, the President looked a bit uncertain, "Are you sure?" before declaring, "In Iran we have got freedom, more than there is in America.")

A classic example, therefore, of the blinkers of sensationalism but, more importantly, an illustration of Ahmadinejad's fragile position: who amongst the crowd in Qom yesterday really cared about the words he put out on American television screens last evening?

Latest Iran Video: Demonstrations in Memory of Montazeri (20 December)

Mohseni Square, Tehran



Latest Iran Video: Montazeri’s Criticism of Supreme Leader Khamenei (October 2009)
Iran Urgent: Ayatollah Montazeri Has Died
The Latest from Iran (20 December): Montazeri Death; Regime Scrambles for Legitimacy


Arak University


Najafabad "Dictator, Dictator, Montazeri's Path Won't End"





Sharif University, Tehran

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Elm-o-Sanat University, Tehran