Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 10:00
1345 GMT: No Thanks on Nukes. Looks like Tehran will maintain a tough posture on talks on uranium enrichment. On Monday, President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the continuing Turkish effort to broker a third-party enrichment deal, but today the Iranian Foreignj Ministry spokesman said No, Thank You: "Turkey wants to play a role in solving the nuclear issue ... But we don't think our transparent views needed to be interpreted by other countries."
1330 GMT: Peykeiran is reporting that several hundred students are protesting at Tehran University. The demonstration is occurring despite a warning from universities' authorities that any protesters would be "dealt with".
1200 GMT: The Tehran prosecutor's office says 86 of the 204 arrested on 16 Azar have been released.
1015 GMT: Complementing our own discussion of the significance of 16 Azar, Nazenin Ansari writes on OpenDemocracy about "Iran's Pre-Revolutionary Rupture": "The continuing, defiant protest-wave in Iran accentuates the ferocious crisis of legitimacy at the regime’s heart. The epic events of 2009 are at a historic turning-point." (hat-tip to an EA reader for bringing this to our attention)
0920 GMT: Students, Don't Even Think About It. Fars News reports that Tehran University authorities have declared that any student gathering today is "illegal" and "will be dealt with".
0915 GMT: Rumour of Day - Khamenei Disappears to "Secret Place". Israel National News thinks it has an exclusive from "an activist in the global Iranian pro-democracy movement":
I am told that Khamenei was taken to a secret place to monitor the situation and perhaps for his safety, and a helicopter was ready with a pilot in it to perhaps fly him out to Russia if the situation got out of hand. I am also told that prominent clergy went to meet with him hoping to force him to show leniency
How can we dispute such an iron-clad story?
Iran: A Discussion on “Engagement” and The State of the Regime (Sadjadpour and Lucas)
Iran Exclusive: Clerics and Rafsanjani Plan The “Third Way” of Unity
Iran: It Isn’t Over – The Protests of 17 Azar (8 December)
Iran 16 Azar Analysis: “Something is Happening”
Iran Special: Putting 16 Azar In Context
Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar – 4rd Set (8 December)
Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar – 3rd Set (7 December)
Iran’s 16 Azar: The Arrest of Majid Tavakoli
Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar – 2nd Set (7 December)
Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar (7 December)
The Latest from Iran (8 December): The Half-Full Victory?
0910 GMT: Karroubi on Students and Government Violence. Mehdi Karroubi's Tagheer website carries an interview with the cleric in which he describes university students as the “thermometer“ of society and advises security forces to “refrain from getting entangled with the people, the students, and the valuable forces of society". and get caught up in undesirable movements.” He emphasised that the political disputes within the country are “grave” and there is a “serious solution” for them.
Karroubi also criticized President Ahmadinejad’s reported remarks that there was that the US is trying to block the return of the 12th Imam of Shi'a Islam. This has tainted the “reputation of the system and the clergy”; the world should not regard Ahmadinejad as a representative of the Iranian nation but as "merely the head of the government".
0835 GMT: Forget the Demonstrations, Remember the Nukes. In relation to our entry today on the US approach to Tehran, here's a flashback from Monday on President Obama's meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (which Ali Yenidunya will be analysing in a separate blog):
Mr. Obama said after a White House meeting with Mr. Erdogan that he had emphasized the importance of resolving Iran’s nuclear capacity “in a way that allows Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear energy, but provides assurances that it will abide by international rules and norms.”
“I believe that Turkey can be an important player in trying to move Iran in that direction,” Mr. Obama said.
Here are some words that never arose in relation to the Obama-Erdogan meeting: "16 Azar", "legitimacy", "protests".
0815 GMT: We've used this morning to set up an exclusive story that we think has great political significance. Thanks to an EA correspondent with contacts in Iran, we've put together the discussions of senior clerics and Hashemi Rafsanjani to revive a National Unity Plan, both as a challenge to the current Government and as an alternative to the Green opposition.
We also have a discussion, sparked by Karim Sadjadpour's interview with Middle East Progress, linking the current state of the regime with consideration of US "engagement" with Iran. And we have an update on the arrest of student leader Majid Tavakoli on 16 Azar.
tagged 16 Azar, Ali Yenidunya, Barack Obama, Fars News, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran, Iran Elections 2009, Israel National News, Karim Sadjadpour, Majid Tavakoli, Mehdi Karroubi, Middle East Progress, National Unity Plan, Nazenin Ansari, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Tagheer, Tehran University in Middle East & Iran