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Entries in Mir Hossein Mousavi (41)


The Latest from Iran (31 December): Is That All There Is?

REGIME RALLY21805 GMT: We're taking a break to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends and families.

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".

Iran: The Regime's Misfired "Big Shot" at Legitimacy

REGIME RALLYNews and rumor from Iran on Wednesday was dominated by two stories: the pro-regime rally and last night's report in Iranian state media, now denied, that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had fled Tehran for Mazandaran province in the north of the country. Each was surrounded by uncertainty and confusion --- how big were the rally and others claimed around Iran? were the most prominent figures in the Green Movement under house arrest --- and, at the end of the night, many were wondering, "What does this all mean?"

Maybe the best way to approach the question is to recognise that the stories are not separate.

Put bluntly, as we did at the start of Wednesday, this was the regime's big push for a display that it was in control. Unsettled by the failure over 6+ months to quell opposition and rocked in particular by the high-visibility takeover of Ashura by its foes on Sunday, the Government responded quickly with the claim of credibility.

Iran: The Regime’s Misfired “Big Shot” at Legitimacy
Iran: The Uncertainties of Oppression and Protest
The Latest from Iran (31 December): Is That All There Is?

Thus the call to its supporters to appear on Wednesday, surrounded by the loudest trumpets of state media. It will still be debated today whether the response was tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, whether their appearance was voluntary or "bought" with free transport, free foods, and days off from school and work, whether the footage from outside Tehran was genuine or even significant --- see Josh Shahryar's analysis for EA --- but on the surface, the regime was able to put up images of a filled Enghelab Square in the capital and rallies in cities such as Tabriz and Shiraz.

What may be most striking, however, was the tone and messages surrounding the event. We noted yesterday that the regime has been showing its "negative" strength by detaining and condemning the opposition but has not been as forthcoming in a "positive" campaign showing how it is providing for the welfare of Iranians.

The Tehran rally did nothing to dispel that impression. There was nothing, for example, to assure the audience of the merits of President Ahmadinejad and his Cabinet, an absence brought out in the post-rally discussion on Press TV. The "positive" extended only as far as "the Supreme Leader is your rightful, just, and magnanimous Leader".

Even that message, given by Ayatollah Alamalhoda of Mashaad, was secondary to the black opening. There are the forces of Satan. The forces are the rioters. Satan is the United States. And Britain. And other foreign governments. And the terrorist MKO (whose political wing, it should be noted, played into the regime's hand with its ill-timed assertion of a key role in the Ashura protests). Stand against all of them.

That, at least to my outside ears, does not sound like an attempt to gain legitimacy through assurance or hope. It strikes the tone of fear. There is even the unstated message --- especially for those who were not at the rally but watched it on state television --- "You may not have complete faith in us, but look at the other guys."

Which brings us to what may have been the second part of the regime campaign. The question this morning: did Government officials feed the story of the flight of "two opposition leaders" to the Islamic Republic News Agency? If they did so, then this is the clumsy fulfillment of an overall message that was to be displayed yesterday: we have threatened them, we have condemned them, we have vanquished them.

Only this step in the strategy did not work. Within an hour, the story was fraying, as the Mousavi and Karroubi camps, despite the Government restrictions on them (their top advisors arrested, their houses and offices surrounded) were able to get out the message that the two men were still in Tehran and still "fighting for the Iranian people". IRNA did not follow up its claim, and overnight other state outlets like Fars and Press TV said the tale was untrue.

Which means that, as Enghelab Square and other squares across are empty of demonstrators this morning, that the regime has the problem of "What Will You Do Now?" After the hundreds of arrests since Sunday, after the fanfare that "millions" of Iranians will turn out to erase all doubt of the political stability of the Supreme Leader (just to repeat, Ahmadinejad has been left behind), after all the invective and threats of the foreign-terrorist-Satanic menace to Iran, legitimacy has not been assured.

Of course, the opposition faces the same question of "What Will You Do Now?". But the opposition has the luxury of taking days, even weeks to make its next high-profile appearance. The regime does not: it is supposed to rule each and every day.

And it is a rule that weakens each and every day when the primary message is all about "them" and not about what the Government is doing for the good of those Iranians who supposedly turned out for it on Wednesday.


Iran: How Significant Was the Regime's Rally?

IRAN FLAGEA correspondent Josh Shahryar offers these thoughts, which are also posted on his personal blog:

Today, pro-government Iranians took to streets in Tehran and possibly other cities in a show of support for the Ahmadinejad government and for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A report by CNN spoke of hundreds of thousands of people in Tehran alone and perhaps thousands more in “Tabriz, Shiraz, Arak, Gilan and Sistan-Baluchestan province.”

Iran: The Regime’s Misfired “Big Shot” at Legitimacy
Iran: The Uncertainties of Oppression and Protest
The Latest from Iran (31 December): Is That All There Is?

According to CNN, protesters chanted slogans against Mir Hossein Mousavi, America, Britain, France, Israel and the Green Movement’s protests on Sunday (Ashura). However, the CNN report while accurate in most respects, failed to mention key facts about the protests, facts that would show their true nature.

For starters, the CNN report and some other media account do not mention that dozens of buses chartered by the Iranian government ran non-stop from villages and suburbs around Tehran and other cities, bringing in government supporters in hordes to the protest venues. The buses began their operation the day before, ensuring the protest looked large enough.

These protesters were then later dispatched to their homes outside Tehran and other cities by the same buses. So what seemed like tens of thousands of Tehranis was in reality a mix of Tehranis and non-Tehranis brought in specifically for the purpose of fooling the world into believing that Tehran and other cities fully support [Supreme Leader] Khamenei and [President] Ahmadinejad.

And while government-run media claimed millions and CNN claimed hundreds of thousands and that Tehran was ‘packed’ with protesters, independent analyses show that the protest in Tehran was composed of no more than 20,000 people. (a larger copy of image below)
Secondly, the reports fail to mention that the protesters were offered free refreshments at the expense of the government to keep them there and to boost their morale. Their banners, slogans, and even the declaration they released denouncing the opposition were written, prepared and handed over to them by the government. Protesters received all their material needs from the government from the minute they boarded the buses to the minute they got back home.

Even so, the enthusiasm that Green Movement supporters show when they are out protesting was non-existent during this protest. People had simply brought their whole families out for a day out on the streets after being prepped up by the government to counter the popular movement that is shaking the core of the Islamic Republic.

And even the government’s own media announced that there were no protests in some of the other large cities. Mashhad, the second largest city, saw almost no response. Neither did Isfahan, the third largest city. And there was no independent confirmation of protests from the cities that the government-run media reported.

Finally, there was no riot police, Basij or IRGC members out with batons, cables, pepper spray, tear ga,s and bullets to disperse the people or stop them from chanting and gathering. Compare this to the millions of people who marched onto streets in June or the hundreds of thousands that marched on Sunday in the face of brutal repression and a government ban on their protests, and you will clearly see the desperate attempts by the Iranian government to make the world believe it has significant support among the populace.

If the government lifts bans on opposition protests, does not cut off telecommunication systems to disrupt planning, does not arrests hundreds and kill dozens, then we’ll see millions out on Iran’s streets every day.

The truth is, if the government did have support among the people, the crowds on Ashura would have been split between the Green Movement and the supporters of the Islamic Republic. On that day, it was an overwhelming show of support for reform and a clear rejection of the Islamic Republic. Plain and simple. The ‘Tehranis’ the government showed the world today were huddled up in small pockets on that day or sitting at home in their villages, watching government propaganda on TV.

Protests like today’s may make the government feel a bit less insecure about its prospects of survival, but it is in no way going to change the resolve of the Iranian people or the perception of the government’s brutality and weakness in the minds of foreigners.


The Latest from Iran (30 December): Rallies and Rumours

IRAN GREEN2205 GMT: The Iranian regime, as it blames foreign media for fomenting unrest, continues the attempt to block the services. Voice of America and BBC Persian report sustained jamming efforts.

2055 GMT: The Hidden Story? An Iranian activist makes the interesting and important claim that the rumours around Mousavi and Karroubi have obscured a major story tonight --- "500 thugs attacked students with knives and machetes" at Mashhad University. We've got footage of the clash in our video section.

2050 GMT: Nothing has happened to change our opinion of 1915 GMT. We are treating Iranian state media's story of "two opposition figures" fleeing to northern Iran as rumour or disinformation.

2020 GMT: Reuters is carrying the opposition's denial of IRNA's story:
Hossein Karoubi, the son of moderate defeated presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, said his father and opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi were still in Tehran.

"My father and Mr. Mousavi are in Tehran and IRNA's report is baseless. They are still pursuing the people's demands," Hossein Karoubi told moderate Parlemannews.

2005 GMT: Andrew Sullivan has gotten wind of what appears to be a five minute video of a group of security forces disarming after being surrounded by a crowd of demonstrators. We've added it to today's video page.

1915 GMT: Rumours. We're off on a 90-minute break. At this point, we consider the Islamic Republic News Agency story of the Karroubi/Mousavi flight to northern Iran "unconfirmed", with the possibility that it is either a rumour being elevated to "news" or a regime disinformation campaign.

Both the Karroubi and Mousavi camps have denied the story. It should also be noted that the rumour was being spread earlier today that Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard had been detained, and no confirmation has followed.

BBC Persian is interviewing one of Karroubi's sons about 1930 GMT.

1910 GMT: We've posted footage of demonstrations today at Shahryar Qods Azad and Mashhad Universities.

1905 GMT: The Regime Rally (cont.). Peyke Iran, which has published photos indicating a smaller rally than the "hundreds of thousands" cited by other outlets (see 1853 GMT), is now off-line. (1926 GMT: Website is back up.)

1853 GMT: The Regime Rally. CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr claims "hundreds of thousands" at today's gathering. He said that at Vali-e Asr Square, he could not get further because of the dense crowd. From a bridge, he watched an area from Imam Hossein Square to Enghelab Square, a distance of about 18 kilometres (11 miles).

NEW Latest Iran Video: University Protests (30 December)
NEW Iran: The Uncertainties of Oppression and Protest
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Strength of the Regime? (29 December)
Latest Iran Video: Today’s University Protest (29 December)
Iran: A List of the Ashura Detainees
Iran: The Regime’s Fightback?
The Latest on Iran (29 December): A Desperate Swing of the Fist

1850 GMT: Mousavi Denial? It looks like Mousavi camp is also denying the IRNA story of "flight" to northern Iran, informing American ABC News that Mousavi is still in Tehran.

1840 GMT: Karroubi Denial of "Fleeing". Mehdi Karroubi's son Hossein has denounced reports that his father and Mir Hossein Mousavi "rumours" spread by Iranian state media. Hossein Karroubi says his father is still in Tehran "working for the people".

1820 GMT: Meanwhile, Some Rhetoric. Speaking to the Islamic Association of Students in Europe, the Supreme Leader said the Western condemnation of the recent events in Iran had been prompted by the influence of "Zionist media".

1815 GMT: IRNA on Mousavi and Karroubi? The Islamic Republic News Agency's account says two "riot leaders fled from Tehran" to Mazandaran amidst "demands for their punishment".

1810 GMT: Mousavi and Karroubi in "Protective Custody"? Returned from a break to find Rah-e-Sabz is checking an Islamic Republic News Agency that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been taken to a small town, Kalar Abad, in Mazandaran in northern Iran "for their protection" under the watch of Ministry of Intelligence and Revolutionary Guard forces. Rah-e-Sabz cautions that this might be a falsehood.

We are urgently checking the news.

1410 GMT: The office of reformist member of Parliament Nasrullah Torabi has been set on fire.

1403 GMT: The "Millions" and Ahmadinejad. Press TV is pushing the line that "millions" turned out today to demonstrate for the regime and against the Ashura "rioters", showing claimed footage from Shiraz, Tabriz, Gilan, Arak, and Sistan-Baluchestan as well as Tehran. Press TV is backing this up with coverage of the Maryam Rajavi statement (see 1000 GMT) as proof of MKO "terrorist" involvement.

The station also briefly features President Ahmadinejad's statement, issued after a Cabinet meeting, that "efforts to destabilise Iran would not affect the nation".  and that the US and Western leaders should learn from their past mistakes.

1335 GMT: Rahnavard Arrested? Meanwhile, we're watching closely the rumour, which began circulating about an hour ago, that the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, has been detained.

1308 GMT: That's pretty much it, as Press TV goes back to the studio for the anchorwoman and "analyst" (journalist Nader Mokhtari) to repeat the standard line of "masses" of "religious" Iranian people standing against a foreign-stimulated opposition.

However, mark this exchange: Mokhtari and the anchorwoman are at great pains to say "this isn't a pro-Ahmadinejad rally....this has absolutely nothing to do with the President of Iran". is not over the issue of legitimacy of President Ahmadinejad but "an outpouring of grief" and "the support of the establishment". Could this be a distancing of the defence of the regime from a defence of the President?

1258 GMT: Now the emphasis is on the "greatness" and "magnanimity" of the regime based on "religious jurisprudence", with the Iranian people as a model for all Muslims. However, "we should not remain passive" any longer and "we should take the initiative" against those plotting conspiracies.

1255 GMT: And Now the Warning. Ayatollah Alamalhoda says that a deadline should be set for repentance. If protesters do not repent, they should be treated as "mohareb" (enemies of God), with the attendant punishment.

1250 GMT: Heavy criticism of those responsible for "fighting" on Ashura: "the Leader of the Islamic Revolution invited the rioters to return to the right path".

1243 GMT: Speeches have begun with tagline, "We have to accept rule of current religious jurisprudence." Quickly, the theme is that the United States is pushing the "party of Satan" protesting against the Iranian regime.

The speaker is Ayatollah Alamalhoda, the Friday Prayer leader of Mashhad.

1236 GMT: A wider shot around the Press TV correspondent ("Iranian nation" against the "disrespect" of Ashura, 16 Azar, etc.) establishes that there are thousands in Enghelab Square.

1230 GMT: Etc., etc. Nothing new to report from the rally. You can just put our comments from 1147 to 1208 GMT, like the Press TV coverage, on a loop and replay....

....Adding this: "a red line has been crossed", according to the anchorwomen, with the opposition's demonstrations and disrespect on Ashura.

1208 GMT: Press TV's correspondent finally shows up on camera in a fairly tight shot, surrounded by a few dozen protesters. That doesn't stop her from claiming "millions" have turned out. Ominously, she emphasises the line that demonstrators are demanding the "punishment" of opposition leaders like Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

1206 GMT: Ahh, Those Two Locations. It is now clear --- for those who have recorded this historic moment, follow a large black flag being fluttered --- that Press TV is claiming "two locations" for two shots from different angles of the rally in Enghelab Square.

1205 GMT: Press TV keeps trying to go to a correspondent, but she is still failing to show up "because the crowd is so loud" that she cannot find a location for the interview with studio.

1157 GMT: A Glitch in the Line? The Press TV anchorman rambles on and says, against a split-screen purportedly showing the rallies, that shots are of protests in "two different locations" in Tehran. However, he never names those locations.

Otherwise, this is the narrative: "MKO-Foreign Governments inciting violence, particuarly Foreign Minister David Miliband of the UK-Also President Obama-MKO-Foreign Interference".

1147 GMT: Press TV has now cut into programming to show live shots from Tehran. Initial close-range shots of the crowd give way to a long shot which (sorry to be uncertain) may or may not be of today. The anchorman's description is boiler-plate claim of continuing pro-regime demonstrations, with emphasis on rallies on Tuesday as well, against the "vandalism" of the opposition and "its violation of one of the most sacred events on the Muslim calendar".

An addition to the party line, however, is the focus on "MKO terrorists" declaring their role in the Ashura "riots" (see 1000 GMT).

1145 GMT: The Ritual Warning. Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has repeated the party line, including the hint of the death penalty, with the declaration, "There is no more room for tolerance over participants in illegal rallies....Those who participate in illegal rallies will be confronted more harshly and the judiciary will confront them more decisively."

Ahmadi-Moghaddam added, "Some of the protesters on Sunday are considered as mohareb (enemy of God) and will be confronted firmly." Capital punishment can be imposed on "mohareb".

1140 GMT: We're watching for first references to the pro-regime protest called for 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT) in Tehran. So far Press TV English has not cut into its programming to provide an update.

1040 GMT: Death Penalty for Protest? German media are highlighting a statement by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, that the legal structure will be put in place within 24 hours for capital punishment against leaders of demonstrations.

1025 GMT: "The Velvet Revolution" Moves From CNN to IRNA. The Islamic Republic News Agency is also highlighting an interview with US-based academic Kaveh Afrasiabi on CNN as confirmation of foreign intervention against the regime. Afrasiabi told CNN, "We have seen tremendous evidence of meddling, by the UK Government in particular, during and after the Presidential election, and there is no doubt in my mind...that the British Government is determined to see regime change in Iran.

1020 GMT: The Regime Stays Negative. As we ventured in our analysis this morning, the Iranian Government appears to have put aside any attempt at a "positive" campaign to mobilise support in favour of bashing the opposition. The Islamic Republic News Agency is dominated by stories vowing punishment of protesters: Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi has taken prime position for the moment with his declaration that the Iran's judiciary will "deal decisively" with the "anti-revolutionary" movement.

Moslehi also maintained the line that "foreign elements" were responsible for "assassinations" on Ashura.

1000 GMT: The Regime's Unexpected Helper? Press TV has jumped on an interview by Maryam Rajavi, the head of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, to headline, "The Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) has acknowledged that it played a role in Sunday's violent anti-government protests in Iran."

The NCRI is the political wing of MKO, which has carried out a violent campaign since 1979 to overthrow the Iranian Government. According to Press TV, Rajavi told Agence France Press that her organisation's followers "cooperated with the demonstrators and coordinated the protests". She supposedly said, "[The protests are] a call for solidarity among all those who reject the rule of the Supreme Leader, the velayat e-faqih....What we call the 'Green movement' against the electoral fraud quickly disappeared to be replaced by a deeper movement whose goal is the total overthrow of the regime."

0915 GMT: How Big Were the Pro-Government Protests? An interesting discussion amongst EA readers overnight of footage from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, supposedly showing thousands of people chanting against "rioters" and for the regime. Authenticity is far from certain --- note the debate in comments below over the trees blurred in the video --- and I am still looking for confirmation in the Iranian press.

Meanwhile, pictures of a rally by Iranian members of Parliament on Tuesday show few demonstrators beyond the MPs.

0845 GMT: We've now posted video claiming to be of the attack on Ayatollah Dastgheib's offices (see 0830 GMT) in Shiraz.

0835 GMT: Uncertainty and Rumour. Testifying to our theme today, a prominent Iranian activist, Mehdi Saharkhiz, has posted an account of a supposed meeting between the Supreme Leader and Hashemi Rafsanjani, discussing the situation after Ashura.

0830 GMT: The Regime v. The Clerics. Radio Farda has more on the story, which we noted yesterday, of attacks on the offices of Ayatollah Sane'i and Ayatollah Dastghaib in Mashhad and Shiraz.

0815 GMT: In our special analysis this morning, we began from Iran's settling into "tensions of uncertainty" after the Ashura demonstrations and the regime's fightback with widespread arrests.

The uncertainty is evident this morning in news that the nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Seyed Ali Mousavi, is buried in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, reportedly after only the Government gave only a few hours' notice that the body should now be laid to rest. No prizes for guessing why, as the regime tries to limit any post-Ashura rallies --- Seyed Ali Mousavi was killed in Sunday's demonstrations.

Or, to be precise, post-Ashura rallies of the opposition. The regime's other gambit today is the call for a mass pro-Government demonstration in Tehran. The uncertainty, even with reports that "thousands" gathered on Monday and Tuesday to condemn the "rioters" of Ashura, is whether this demonstration will be a substantive indication of widespread support, especially for President Ahmadinejad.

And then there are the uncertainties that go beyond today's events. Consider, for example, how a rumour without any clear evidence is now "news". The Twitter chatter on Sunday was that a jet, with an escort of military fighters, was ready at Mehrabad Airport for the Supreme Leader to fly to Russia. Yesterday, that chatter, backed up by a mysterious fax, turned into "news" on Radio Netherlands, and today it is worthy of publication in The Huffington Post.


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".