Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Rah-e-Sabz (11)


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".

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".


The Latest from Iran (27 December): The Day of Ashura 

Mideast Iran2225 GMT: Karroubi Comments. Mehdi Karroubi has issued a statement offering condolences for today’s martyred protesters and condemning those carrying out oppression: “The sins that you have committed today cannot be forgiven by God. If you don’t have a belief in God, at least be a human.”

Karroubi offered a sharp comparison, asserting that even the Shah respected the day of Ashura and gave orders for people to be able to commemorate it as they wished..

2155 GMT: Closing and Wondering. As we get to the end of the day, a tentative assessment of the signficance, "A 5-Minute, 5-Point Reaction to The Events of Ashura". (For those who want to see what 24 hours can bring, see our analysis yesterday in Edward Yeranian's article for the Voice of America.)

2150 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that the brother of Abdollah Nouri, Minister of Interior in the Rafsanjani and Khatami Governments, was severely beaten in Isfahan today.

NEW Iran: A 5-Minute, 5-Point Reaction to The Events of Ashura
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 3rd Set)
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 2nd Set)
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December)
NEW Iran: A Tehran Map for Today’s Events
NEW Iran Uncovered: The Top-Secret Obama-Ahmadinejad Relationship
NEW Iran: The False US Friends of the “Iranian People” (An Open Letter to Charles Krauthammer)
NEW Latest Iran Video: Attack on Jamaran Memorial/Khatami Speech (26 December)
Latest Iran Video: Eve of Ashura Protests (26 December — The Jamaran Videos)
Latest Iran Video: The Eve of Ashura Protests (26 December)
The Latest from Iran (26 December): The Eve of Ashura Demonstrations

2040 GMT: Desperation. Press TV, citing Fars, reports --- presumably with a straight face:

A source with the Iranian Intelligence Ministry has announced the arrest of a number of Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorists in the anti-government protests that sparked in central Tehran.

At right, a stunning photograph to set beside the story: an anti-riot officer, wearing a green headband given to him by demonstrators, joins the "MKO terrorist" crowd.

2035 GMT: Martial Law?! Rah-e-Sabz is reporting that martial law was declared at 9 p.m. local time in Najafabad.

The website is also claiming "unprecedented police violence" outside the IRIB buildings.

2030 GMT: Ashura & Mousavi. A crowd have gathered outside Ebn-e-Sina Hospital to mourn and support the family of Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali died in the hospital today after being shot in demonstration in Enghelab Square.

2020 GMT: The US Comments. The White House has issued the following statement:
We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights. Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States.

Governing through fear and violence is never just, and as President Obama said in Oslo -- it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.

2005 GMT: AUT News reports on Internet chatter we've heard all evening: Mohammad Moin, the son of Mustafa Moin, former reformist Presidential candidate and Minister in the Rafsanjani and Khatami Governments, was arrested today.

2000 GMT: The Ashura "Martyrs" in Tehran. Rah-e-Sabz has named the five people killed in the capital today: Mehdi Farhadi Nia, Mohammad Ali Rasekhi, Amir Arshadi, Shahram Fraji, and Seyed Ali Mousavi.

1950 GMT: What We're Watching. Reports of clashes outside buildings of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and in squares and avenues across Tehran: Mirdamad, Karegar, Enghelab, Azadi, Tajrish, and 7 Tir.

1835 GMT: And Tonight? From a distance, it feels like the final round of a heavyweight boxing match. The challenger --- having landed some mighty blows and even putting the champion (if you can call the regime "champion") on the ropes --- has punched himself/herself out.

So the protests tonight are smaller, with security forces preventing a mass gathering. For example, groups tried to congregate in Mohseni Square but were contained along Mirdemad Avenue.

Yes, it feels like the final round. Except that you and I know it is far from the final round, right?

1715 GMT: I'm Telling You, They Set the Koran on Fire! That's Fars News' latest attempt to tarnish the protests (which only hours supposedly had not occurred).

1705 GMT: A 3rd set of videos from today is now posted.

1635 GMT: Rouydad is now reporting on the Arak protest and clashes, and we have video from there and Najafabad.

1550 GMT: Beyond Tehran. Josh Shahryar is summarising:
Protests in Mashhad can be confirmed now. Protesters gathered outside Grand Ayatollah Sane’i’s house and at Imam Reza’s Shrine. At least 17 people were arrested – most of them students. Many people were injured in clashes as well.

Protests in Babol can be confirmed too now. Many protesters – including a young girl – were beaten badly by security forces here.

The number of people arrested in Tehran has reached at least 10. The number is probably going to rise. At least 4 people were also killed here.

So far, the protests could be confirmed in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Babol, Ardabil, Qom and Najafabad.

In addition, an Iranian source is reporting protests and clashes in Arak.

1510 GMT: Mousavi's Nephew Dead. A "close aide" to Mir Hossein Mousavi has confirmed the killing of Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali by security forces this afternoon.

1500 GMT: Understatement of the Day. Press TV takes the gold medal: "The Iranian capital on Sunday witnessed sporadic anti-government protests on the anniversary of the Shia Muslim Ashura religious event."


1420 GMT: Parleman News is reporting that Seyed Ali Mousavi, Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew, was shot and killed in today's demonstrations. Mousavi was reportedly slain in Enghelab Square around noon local time (0830 GMT).

1350 GMT: Rouydad News is reporting clashes in Tabriz, with "probably at least four" killed.

1330 GMT: The Official Interpretation. Islamic Republic News Agency writes that a "cult of Mousavi" has caused chaos in Tehran, damaging public property and inconveniencing citizens.

IRNA also tries the story of a group of students out to cause trouble, with foreign media on hand to report "uproar and chaos".

Fars News reports on same lines,

1245 GMT: Taking the Streets? We have been busy looking at and uploading footage, starting a second set of vide0s, of the demonstrations. The images indicate that, at least for periods today, protesters have beaten back security forces --- despite the first deaths in months --- and taken control of sections of Tehran.

Rah-e-Sabz, still under cyber-attack, has reported, "Police forces are refusing their commanders' orders to shoot at demonstrators in central Tehran....Some of them try to shoot into the air when pressured by their commanders."

1135 GMT: Reports now of protests in Babol.

1130 GMT: Still a fluid situation with reports of gatherings and clashes throughout Tehran and in other cities. We have posted the first set of videos from today, including dramatic footage of protesters fighting back against security forces, especially at College Bridge (Pole Kalej). One report claims the forces relinquished Val-e Asr Square to demonstrators.

1025 GMT: Reformist websites are now confirming the 4th death. Reliable sources says a 5th person has been killed outside Amir Kabir University.

0955 GMT:  4th Death? Sources are reporting that a person has been killed in demonstrations at Vali-e Asr.

0950 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz confirms that its site is under attack.

0940 GMT: Mardomak confirms no live footage from Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, unlike past years, of Imam Hossein Square in Tehran.

Meanwhile, Ironic Journalism Award of Day goes to Press TV. After showing ceremonies in Zanjan (but not Tehran), the channel reported very seriously that Moharram marches have been banned in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

0930 GMT: We've posted the first claimed video of today's protests and also the link to a useful map of Tehran.

0925 GMT: Beyond Tehran. Reports now coming in of protests in Isfahan, Shiraz, and Najafabad.

0915 GMT: Deaths of Protesters? Rah-e-Sabz (which is up but is difficult to access because of overload) is reporting three people killed and two injured in the area near Kalej Bridge (Pole Kalej).

0830 GMT: We are watching carefully the torrent of claims of clashes across the capital, including claims that security forces have backed away at certain points in the face of determined protesters. BBC has now posted, "Tehran police 'fire tear gas at opposition protesters'."

0815 GMT: Mardomak reports tear gas fired in Enghelab Square and clashes in Imam Hossein Square. After clashes at Amir Kabir University, the crowd has been dispersed.

0810 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz, before it went down, also reported tear gas at Vali-e Asr.

0805 GMT: Fancy a Lighter Moment? It promises to be an intense day, so if you need a break, have a look at our special world exclusive, based on minutes of investigative journalism, "The Top-Secret Obama-Ahmadinejad Relationship".

0755 GMT: Watching reports of clashes at Imam Hossein, Vali-e Asr, and Enghelab Squares.

0745 GMT: The reformist site Rah-e-Sabz, a key source in recent days for "Western" media, has just gone down. The site had just reported tear gas used in Enghelab Square and the closing off of Vali-e Asr crossing.

0740 GMT: Mardomak is reporting clashes at Ferdowsi Square and heavy traffic around Pol-e Choubi.

0715 GMT: First unconfirmed reports of clashes in Tehran, mainly at Imam Hossein Square and 17 Shahrivar Street.

0711 GMT: Nothing to See Here, Go Away. Press TV still repeating the history and religious background of Ashura over and over, against live shots from Taft. Just keep talking --- even though nothing new is being said --- and maybe no one will notice the current political context and events.

0700 GMT: Press TV are carrying live shots of the Ashura ceremony in Mashhad and Taft. No word of Tehran, however.

0655 GMT: The reformist website Rah-e-Sabz reports an "extensive security presence" in Tehran, noting in particular forces around Imam Hossein and 7 Tir Squares.

0640 GMT: Drama and Polemic. We've posted stunning footage of yesterday's attack on the Jamaran memorial.

And we've finally caught our breath to highlight our analysis of the embrace of the "Iranian people" by American "false friends", trying to use the movement to extend US power in the name of the "new birth of freedom".

0625 GMT: A hat-tip and a heads-up for coverage of events. While we were down because of host problems yesterday, we noticed the good work being done by the LiveBlogs of The Daily Nite Owl (EA correspondent Josh Shahryar) and of IranNewsNow. Both are already in action this morning.

0605 GMT: AUT News reports that, in addition to the disruption of the Jamaran memorial and the speech of former President Mohammad Khatami by plainsclothes "thugs" (see yesterday's updates), 2000 Basiji surrounded the mourning ceremonies at Dar al-Zahra last night.

Ferehsteh Ghazi has a detailed report, in Persian, of the events and violence at Jamaran. Robert Mackey's blog for The New York Times draws from several sources for a summary.

0600 GMT (0930 Iran time): The holy day of Ashura, marking the death of the third Imam, Hossein, at the hands of Yazid's forces at the battle of Karbala, has begun. Government forces reported "in large numbers at all intersections from Enghelab to Azadi Squares" in Tehran.


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

IRN GREEN2035 GMT: We've posted the video and full transcript of President Ahmadinejad's interview with Britain's Channel 4 (see 1925 GMT).

1925 GMT: Mahmoud Says All is Well. President Ahmadinejad has given another "exclusive" interview to a Western broadcaster, this time Britain's Channel 4. Once again, the discussion started with nukes, nukes, nukes, allowing Ahmadinejad (who I suspect is pretty used to this line of questioning) to stake out his defence of the Iranian nation against Washington --- "We are against the expansionist policies of the United States" --- and ending in the cul-de-sac of the question, "Is the matter of extended hands finished?"

NEW Iran Video & Transcript: Ahmadinejad Interview with Britain’s Channel 4 (23 December)
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Isfahan Protests (23 December)
NEW Iran: Is the US Government Now Going to Engage with the Opposition?
NEW Iran Analysis: The Regime’s Cracks Widen, The Wave Resurges?
NEW Iran: Is Ayatollah Sane’i The Next Montazeri?
UPDATED Iran Video: University Demonstrations for Montazeri (22 December)
Iran Special Analysis: After Montazeri — From Protest to Victory?
Latest Iran Video: The Last Goodbye to Montazeri (21 Decem
The Latest from Iran: Momentum against a Sinking President? (22 December)

It's the second half of the interview that is surreal, however, with Ahmadinejad's defiance --- in the face of all evidence to the contrary --- "We have freedom in Iran - people are free to express their views":

JON SNOW: The Basij here, and we have this firsthand from a member of the Basij, he says they were given the permissions to go in and use no restraint and attack people who disagree with you. Women, men were hit with batons - and some were killed.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD: In my opinion you have access to some information which I don’t know.

JS: Well we have spoken to a Basij who told us what orders they were given.

MA: With whom did you talk to?

JS: We spoke with a member of the Basij who has now run from Iran.

MA: Clearly this source of information must be very exact. I think it is not correct to judge in this way. In our country the law prevails.

JS: But you can see videos Mr President. You've scene the pictures of what the Basij were doing and what the Revolutionary Guard were doing. And what he has seen too is the beating and the raping of men and women in detention.

MA: Did you see all of these things on the pictures?

JS: We saw all of the things in the streets - of course we do not get the stories of what happened in the containers where people were being detained.

MA: There have been clashes amongst some people - how can you find out if he was Basij or another person? Let me repeat that. In my country the law prevails.

JS: You deny that the Basij beat up these people?

MA: No, we are not concerned with these things as you claim. The law prevails. Some people may violate the law in any place anywhere. And maybe they have not observed and respected the law during demonstrations or protests they may have participated in illegal demonstrations. Or they might get involved in clashes whether they are ordinary people or from among the Asians....

The law will certainly investigate. Iran is a free country. Do you believe that Iran should be like West? We have freedom in Iran - people are free to express their views. They can also cry for their rights…you are making a mistake….

1835 GMT: Please Don't Green the Currency. And now this from the Central Bank of Iran: it is asking you really, really nicely to please, please stop putting slogans on banknotes.

1825 GMT: The Homosexuals and Women Are Especially Dangerous. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi, last noticed when he was trying to take down the Rafsanjani family, widened his net --- really widened it --- today. I think the statement stands on its own, with no further elaboration:
Moslehi announced that the ministry has identified 80 foundations and organizations that were active in the post-election protests. In a meeting with the nation's provincial premiers he announced that these organizations were involved in the post-election "sedition" and one of them even has a $1.7-billion budget.

The Intelligence Minister reportedly added that the objective of the "seditious movement" in the Islamic Republic is "altering the behaviour of government officials and the people" as well as dismantling the Islamic Republic regime from within. Mr. Moslehi maintained that this movement was established earlier at the conference of Berlin and Denmark.

He listed "People's Mojahedin Organization, monarchists, religious and ethnic terrorists, Baha'is, homosexuals, feminist groups, nationalists and Marxists" as members of this movement.

Heydar Moslehi announced that "we are now completely on top of this sedition and have the traffic of the seditious elements with the West under close surveillance."

1630 GMT: Ayatollah Sane'i's office claims that attackers in Qom were allowed to move unchecked on Tuesday, as police did not respond to calls for help.

1625 GMT: The Ministry of Intelligence has ordered the cancellation of all memorial services for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

1550 GMT: A tearful Ayatollah Taheri, who was supposed to give the memorial address for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri in Isfahan, said he tried six different entrances to get into the mosque, but all of them were closed.

Mir Hossein Mousavi's website Kalemeh also says that security forces used pepper spray and tear gas on the crowd, beating some people severely.

1535 GMT: Isfahan Protests. We've posted the first two clips that we believe are authentic.

1415 GMT: Ahmadinejad in Shiraz --- The Workers Protest. Another sign that the President's Magical Mystery Political Tour is not going smoothly. From Persian2English:
Workers of the Long Distance Telecommunications Company of Iran, who protest regularly over unpaid wages chose this time to make their voices heard at Hafeziyeh Stadium in Shiraz. The protest occurred during a speech by Ahmadinejad at the same location.

Many people had banners with slogans such as “800 families, 8 months without pay” and “it has been 12 months since we got paid”. Before arriving at the Stadium, Ahmadinejad called the protesters "without honour” and “two-faced". He asked God to destroy them.

1354 GMT: Reports that journalists Fariba Pajooh and Nafiseh Zarekohan and student activist Hojat Sharifi have been released on bail.

1350 GMT: Uncertainty. Back from a lunch break to find no advance in confirmed news on today's clashes in Isfahan. Instead, there is a deluge of rumours of security forces holding positions, including the mosque which was to hold the Montazeri memorial, Isfahan, and conversely protestors seizing locations and setting up barricades in Isfahan and Najafabad.

It has been stunning, however, how Western media --- in contrast to their limited attention in recent months --- are now all over any report of protest in Iran. Almost every major US and British broadcaster and newspaper is recycling the Rah-e-Sabz report from Isfahan. The Green movement is now the "prodigal" child, adopted once more by non-Iranian journalists as the rightful heir of the Islamic Republic.

1345 GMT: The Reiss Trial. The case of Clotilde Reiss, the French graduate student arrested this summer, drags on. After rumours and confusion this week over a possible "prisoner swap" between Paris and Tehran, Reiss appeared today for trial. The hearings were suspended after three hours, however, with an indeterminate conclusion: Reiss' lawyer said, "The final part of pleadings concerning the accusations against the French national will be made in the next session of the trial."

1158 GMT: Going after Larijani. Mir Hossein Mousavi's advisor, Alireza Beheshti, has launched a scathing attack on the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, effectively accusing him of sanctioning the aggressive measures of plainclothes security forces.

1155 GMT: Norooz is now reporting on the surrounding of Ayatollah Taheri's house by security forces.

1135 GMT: Another Tuesday Demonstration. Footage has now emerged of a demonstration, reportedly at Isfahan's Sanati University:"Our [Supreme] Leader's message is insulting our Marja [senior clerics]/Desperate Dictator, our movement will continue."

1103 GMT: Arrests in Isfahan. Among those arrested in today's clashes, according to activists: Hojatoleslam Masoud Adib, Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign manager in Qom, and Mohammad Nazeri, an activist in Mousavi's election campaign.

1100 GMT: With the help of EA readers, we've now put the question, "Is the Obama Administration About to Engage with Iran's Opposition?"

1035 GMT: Today's Fist-Shaking. Iran police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam is the man to hand out the warning, "We advise this movement to end their activities. Otherwise those who violate the order will be fiercely confronted, based on the law."

1015 GMT: Jaras website is reporting that the home of Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri has been surrounded by security forces. Taheri was supposed to give the address at the memorial in Isfahan, cancelled because of the security presence, for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

1005 GMT: Down with Supreme Leader? We've posted new video from yesterday's demonstrations, including a clip declaring "This is the month of blood; Seyed Ali [Khamenei] will be overthrown."

1000 GMT: Reformists report more than 50 arrested, including four journalists, in Isfahan.

0925 GMT: The Protest That Failed? Perhaps, given the source, this claim should be taken with a grain of salt; however, the reformist site Rah-e-Sabz asserts that, despite regime efforts to bring out a crowd for President Ahmadinjead's speech in Shiraz on Tuesday, the turnout was "thousands less" than they hoped for.

0850 GMT: The World is Watching. The BBC's flagship radio news programme has just carried a special item on the Rah-e-Sabz report of "heavy clashes" in Isfahan, with "several injured". While Jon Leyne's summary adds nothing to the story on the reformist website, it indicates that the BBC is now paying close attention to developments, with Leyne adding context from Monday and Tuesday's demonstrations.

0835 GMT: And Away on the Nuclear Front. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has trotted out the now-firm Iranian Government line: the elevation of uranium stock to 20 percent enrichment must take place inside the country, for example, through the "swap" of Iran's 3.5 percent stock for the 20 percent supply.

0810 GMT: Hiding the Politics. The announcement from Press TV is matter-of-fact, ignoring any political dimension or symbolism of growing conflict:
Iran's Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution has appointed poet Ali Moallem Damghani to the position of President of the Academy of Arts. The Council named Moallem on Tuesday to replace defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

0755 GMT: The reformist site Rah-e-Sabz is now also reporting "heavy clashes" in Isfahan.

0750 GMT: A LiveBlog is reporting that security forces closed the doors of the mosque in Isfahan and that there are now clashes in the area.

0730 GMT: With both the tension and opposition momentum after Grand Ayatollah Montazeri's death both unchecked, we start today with two analyses. We have posted our reading of the regime's growing problems and consideration of whether the Green Wave is now resurgent. And Josh Shahryar assesses whether the reformist opposition will have a new clerical beacon, replacing Montazeri, in Ayatollah Yousef Sane'i.

As we post these, the breaking news is of the regime trying to hold back the tide of challenge: today's memorial service in Isfahan for Montazeri has been cancelled because of the large presence of riot police and security forces.