To all EA readers, we wish you the very best with hopes for a peaceful and prosperous 2010.....
1800 GMT: Reports continue of clashes across Tehran, but with little information that can be verified.
1610 GMT: Setareh Sabety reports the following from an eyewitness source in Iran:
I went a tour around the city, antiriot police are standing in most of main streets....Lebaas shakhsihaa [plainclothes forces] are on their bikes almost everywhere. Many shops from Vali-e Asr Square to Famemi are closed. No slogans or green presence to see.
1540 GMT: Protests, Force, and Mourning. Peyke Iran offers the following summary of developments:
People in shrouds came out to protest at Sadat Abad in Tehran. Government authorities and security forces took control of Enghelab Square by closing the underground stop and dispersing demonstrators. Thousands of people paid respects at the grave of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali, who was quickly buried yesterday.
1508 GMT: Conflicting Reports on Clashes. An EA source, passing on information from a witness in Iran, said 7 Tir Square --- where clashes had been reported --- is currently quiet.
NEW Latest Iran Video: Protests Against and for the Regime (31 December)
NEW Iran: The Rafsanjani Interview on France 24 (28 December)
NEW Iran: The Regime’s Misfired “Big Shot” at Legitimacy
NEW Iran: How Significant Was the Regime’s Rally?
Latest Iran Video: University Protests (30 December)
Iran: The Uncertainties of Oppression and Protest
1500 GMT: Setting Up the Clampdown. Well, no doubts about where Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani now stands --- he's alongside those in the Government preparing to bring the hammer down on the opposition. In a speech in Khorasan-Razavi Province, he addressed "rioters":
Who do you think you are that you violate the rights of the people? The public have the right to ask the judiciary to punish you. The people and clerical community should rest assured that by showing up [to condemn the Ashura protests], they have compelled the relevant authorities to take action against the elements of Fitna.
1450 GMT: Unconfirmed claims of clashes throughout Tehran. Rah-e-Sabz reports that security forces have used tear gas on crowds in 7 Tir Square and that conflict continues, with numerous arrests, in Vali-e Asr.
1400 GMT: We've posted first footage from today's demonstration at Azad University in Mashhad, a day after violent clashes between students and security forces.
1315 GMT: The World's Worst Disinformation Campaign. First glance at the Islamic Republic of News Agency shows that the Ministry of Intelligence issues a warning (again) that protesters will be dealt with and that Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani is extolling yesterday's rally as a reminder of the great days of the Islamic Revoluton.
Second glance discovers IRNA exposing its own propaganda stunt on Wednesday. Apparently the rumour of the flights of opposition leaders spread "passivity and confusion" in their supporters. Which, given that IRNA started the rumour, might be translated as we attempted to spread "passivity and confusion" amongst the supporters.
Guys, small tip: it's no longer "disinformation" when you're busted for the "dis-" in the information.
1300 GMT: More from Mashhad. Rah-e-Sabz reports that students, including some injured in yesterday's clashes at the university, are still missing.
1215 GMT: Students at Mashhad University have effectively closed the campus today in protest at attacks on demonstrators yesterdays.
1200 GMT: A Military Presence? Rah-e-Sabz is now reporting that military units are stationed at major intersections in Tehran.
1105 GMT: New Videos. We've posted Hashemi Rafsanjani's Monday night interview with France 24 and today's rather small rally for the regime in Karaj.
1005 GMT: The Police Recording on Ashura. A lot of buzz this morning around a purported police communications recording, posted on YouTube, during Sunday's events. The general tone of the conversation, summarised in English by an Iranian activist, is of concern and confusion.
1000 GMT: Nervousness. As chatter spreads of a possible opposition rally in Tehran at 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT), Rah-e-Sabz (Jaras) claims, “Hundreds of military forces and tens of armored vehicles … are moving toward Tehran. Some of the vehicles are used for suppressing street riots."
We have to add that the report is unconfirmed.
0955 GMT: Speaking of Students.... Student leader Bahareh Hedayat is another post-Ashura detainee. Her speech on 5 December to a Dutch conference, "International Solidarity with the Iranian Student Movement", can be viewed on YouTube.
0940 GMT: Blacklisting the "Star" Students. Farnaz Fassihi offers an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal, "Regime Wages a Quiet War on 'Star Students' of Iran". Fassihi explains:
In most places, being a star means ranking top of the class, but in Iran it means your name appears on a list of students considered a threat by the intelligence ministry. It also means a partial or complete ban from education.
The term comes from the fact that some students have learned of their status by seeing stars printed next to their names on test results....
The phenomenon started in the summer of 2006, the first academic year in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first term in office. Some grad-school applicants noticed stars beside their names on the report cards issued by the government-run college-placement agency.
Students with one star could return to school after signing a consent to give up political activism, according to Iranian human-rights and activist groups. Two-star students faced semester suspensions and interrogation sessions, and three-star students were banned from education for life....
More than 1,000 graduate students have been blocked from higher education since the practice began in 2006, according to statements by Mostafa Moin, a former education minister, in official media in September.
Star treatment is reserved for graduate students, although undergrads also face suspension for political activity, according to student-rights activists. Several hundred undergrads have been suspended for as many as four semesters, according to student activists and human-rights groups in Iran. Under Iran's higher-education law, students are dismissed from school if they miss four terms.
0845 GMT: The Regime Cuts Off Its Defender? An interesting moment in a discussion on Al Jazeera English's "Inside Story" on the significance of the Ashura protests.
Kian Mokhtari, a journalist in Tehran, was joining the US-based analysts Gary Sick and Trita Parsi (each of whom made solid points about the political situation). In his first contribution, Mokhtari began, "The Government did not come down harshly on the demonstrators at all." He assured, "Because it is Ashura, no firearms were issued" to security forces.
But then he added, "Iran Government is investigating the issue as we speak." Click. Mokhtari was gone, never to be heard from again in the 24-minute programme.
0800 GMT: We begin this morning with two analyses of the regime's effort on Wednesday to quell opposition by establishing its political and religious superiority. Josh Shahryar offers a reading of the big rally in Tehran. We connect that event to last night's rumour of the "flight" of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to northern Iran to ask if the regime was able to secure its legitimacy yesterday. (Answer: No.)
That impression is reinforced by the overnight switch-back of State media, dismissing the Islamic Republic News Agency report of "two opposition leaders" scurrying out of Tehran. "Informed sources" (from which part of the Government?), speaking to Fars News, "denied earlier reports that Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi have fled Tehran amid security concerns".