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Entries in Robert Worth (2)


The Latest from Iran (28 December): The Regime's Arresting Strategy

ASHURA52115 GMT: Battling with Statements. The Assembly of Combatant Clergymen has condemned those it says are responsible for violence on Ashura, namely the security forces and plainclothes militia: "The Almighty God will cut off the hands of these deceived fools." The Assembly added:
Today we should cry blood that on the day of Hossein’s Aashura and after all sorts of insults to Imam Khomeini’s family and his legacy by the phony defenders of the revolution, there was an attack on the prayer hall [in Jamaran, where former President Khatami was speaking] that is a reminder of the name and memory of the Imam. The peaceful ritual of commemorating Aashura was attacked by clubs, batons and chains and by insulting slogans. Those who [did this] made the utmost insults to both Ashura and Imam Khomeini and then beat and bashed innocent people.

Daftar-Tahkim-Vahdat, the main reformist Student Alumni Organisation, also issued a statement:
What a regret that a government that considers itself to be risen from religious teachings and a national revolution, on the noon of Ashura opens fire on innocents and does what even the most notorious rulers of this country throughout the history [e.g. the Shah deposed in 1979] had not dared to do.

2055 GMT: Taking Sides? We've posted the video of President Obama's statement (see 2020 GMT) and it's even harder-hitting than we thought:"History will be on the side of those who seek justice"

2035 GMT: How Many Detained Yesterday? Rah-e-Sabz reports that 400 to 500 protesters were arrested Sunday in Isfahan, including the brother and two nephews of former Minister of Interior Abdollah Nouri. Human Rights Activists News Agency are now saying 1100 people have been transferred to Evin Prison in Tehran.

2025 GMT: Dastghaib Calls for A Movement. Ayatollah Dastgheib has issued a statement for fellow marja (high-ranking clerics) to join him in calling on the Government to adhere to the Constitution.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Obama Condemns “Violent & Unjust Suppression” (28 December)
NEW Iran: Ashura’s Message “Iranians Are Not Punching Bags” (Josh Shahryar)
NEW Iran: A Point of No Return?
Iran: A 5-Minute, 5-Point Reaction to The Events of Ashura
Iran: The False US Friends of the “Iranian People” (An Open Letter to Charles Krauthammer)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 3rd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December — 2nd Set)
Latest Iran Video: The Ashura Protests (27 December)
The Latest from Iran (27 December): The Day of Ashura

2020 GMT: Obama Speaks. The US Government has definitely decided to throw rhetorical support behind the Iranian opposition. The President, in a press conference which will focus on the foiled attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound jet, has taken the time to comment on events in Iran.

Obama hailed the "courage and conviction" of Iran's people and said the Government must respect their rights:

We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained....The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens. What is talking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country. It is about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice.

1900 GMT: They Burned 18 Garbage Bins?! Sometimes you have to admire the Iranian regime. It is walking a fine line between showing that Sunday's protests were serious enough that the demonstrators must be punished but not so serious enough that they pose a threat to the regime. This is tonight's magical public-relations solution:
Head of the Public Relations office of Tehran's Safety Services and Firefighting Organization Behrouz Tashakkor said 838 firefighters were dispatched to various locations in Tehran on Ashura. "Nine residential buildings, 9 vehicles, 7 shops, 2 banks and 3 power stations were set on fire [by anti-government protestors]," Tashakkor said.

The Iranian official added that "18 garbage bins" were also set on fire.

1855 GMT: Karroubi Targeted? Saham News reports that Mehdi Karoubi, attending an Ashura mourning ceremony with his family, was attacked by plainclothes militia as he left the mosque. Karoubi’s car was attacked and vandalised, breaking the front windscreen, before onlookers intervened.

1840 GMT: More on Emad Baghi's Arrest (see 1140 GMT). An EA contact has given us the following information:

This morning plainclothes officers entered Baghi's home, with others standing at the door. They insulted his wife and daughters and turned him home into a garrison and badly beat his brother-in-law. As Baghi was taken away, he read a verse of the Qu'ran calling for tolerance and patience in difficulties. One of his captors said, "His life is short enough that he can see the future."

One of the accusations against Baghi is his interview with the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri in a movie recently broadcast by BBC Persian.

Baghi's whereabouts tonight are unknown.

1740 GMT: The BBC has published a comprehensive list of Western countries which have strongly criticised the Iranian Government's bloody crackdown and called for Tehran's restraint.

1555 GMT: Where is Mousavi's Body? According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, the body of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali is being held by Government authorities while investigations are carried out on a death "under suspicious circumstances".

1530 GMT: Javan Farda reports that the son of Ayatollah Jaleleddin Taheri has been arrested in Isfahan. Taheri has been under pressure in recent days after his attempt to lead a memorial service for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

1444 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz is reporting that metro stations in central Tehran have been closed. The likelihood is that this is because of Government fears of escalation of protests at 7 Tir Square.

1440 GMT: Arresting the Martyr's Mother. One of "the others" arrested at the house of activist Mahin Fahimi (see 1335 GMT) was the mother of Sohrab
, who came to prominence when it emerged in July that he died from Basiji gunfire on 15 June.

1435 GMT: First Clashes of Today? We are getting reports of a crowd gathering in Tehran's 7 Tir Square and clashes with security forces.

1405 GMT: Keeping Rafsanjani in a Box. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani did not make an appearance yesterday, but that does not mean that the regime pressure on relented --- indeed, since that pressure might have muted Rafsanjani on Ashura, why not maintain it?

Fars News keeps up the campaign this morning, claiming that Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh Hashemi joined "rioters" on Ashura after spending her holidays in the north of Iran (in other words, she partied during the first days of Moharram and joined the protests just for fun).

1400 GMT: The Arrests. Another vital list, this one from Neo-Resistance, which posts these details of arrests:

Ebrahim Yazdi (former Foreign Minister)
Emad-e'Din Baghi (Human Rights Activist)
Morteza Hadji (Minister of educaion during Khatami era)
Leila Tavassoli, daughter of Mohammad Tavassoli
Seyed Hosein Mousavi Tabrizi (Head of the clerical Association of Teachers and Researchers of Qom)
Alireza Beheshti Shirazi (Editor in Chief of Mousavi's online journal Kalameh Sabz)
Ghorban Behzadian Nejad (Mousavi consultant)
Mohamad Bagherian (Mousavi consultant)
Rasouli (deputy of President Khatami's Baran Foundation)
Forouzandeh (Manager of Mousavi's office)
Mohammad Sadegh Rabbani (retired university professor who used to be the general prosecutor 20 years ago, arrested yesterday 27 December)
Mohammad Moin (son of former Presidential candidate Mostafa Moin, the former Minister of Science and higher education, arrested 27 December)
Heshmatollah Tabarzadi (Student Activist)
Haleh Sahabi (Women's Rights activist)

1355 GMT: Reports that journalist Mostafa Izadi arrested.

1350 GMT: We Break for This Official Announcement. Press TV: "Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy commander of Iran's armed forces, on Monday defined the 'actions of a group of hooligans on such days of mourning' as another 'low act' incomparable to anything seen before. He described the 'small group of vandals' as marginal compared to 'millions of real Ashura mourners'."

Now back to regular programming....

1342 GMT: Essential Information. HomyLafayette has posted a summary with information on those swept up in the Government's wave of arrests. Josh Shahryar has compiled information, complete with map, on the locations across Iran of protests yesterday. And an EA reader points us to an excellent collection of photographs from the Ashura protests.

1335 GMT: Claims coming in that Government forces entered the home of peace activist Mahin Fahimi, arresting her, her son, and others.

1303 GMT: Mousavi's Body. We continue follow conflicting reports over the fate of the body of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew Seyed Ali with reports that it was taken from the Ebn -e-Sina Hospital by Government authorities.

1258 GMT: Deaths and Arrests. One of those killed yesterday was the son of Shahin Mahinfar, the prominent IRIB journalist.

An Iranian source reports that Abolfazl Ghadyani of the Mojahedin has been arrested.

1236 GMT: There are unconfirmed reports that the head of the Iranian Embassy in Norway has resigned citing his support of the green movement.

1205 GMT: The Human Rights Activists News Agency claims that 550 people arrested on Sunday have been transferred to Evin Prison.

1200 GMT: Answering Our Question. Masoud at The Newest Deal has a lengthy analysis which responds to our interim assessment this morning, "Point of No Return?". His reply? "One thing that is certain is that there is no turning back."

1140 GMT: The Regime Strikes Back (Cont.). The strategy of the Government is to "break" the movement --- much as it appeared to do in June, in July, in August, in September --- with arrests and disruption of communications.

EA sources confirm that Emad Baghi, the founder of the Association for Defense of Prisoners Rights, has been arrested. (Parleman News has now reported this.) A reliable source writes that Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, leader of the banned Democratic Front of Iranian People, has been taken from his home.

The site Rah-e-Sabz is under sustained cyber-attack and, of course, Kalemeh has been hindered by the arrest of its editor (see 1040 GMT). It is also reported that Etemaad newspaper has been closed.

1040 GMT: The Regime Strikes Back. A pattern is emerging of the Iranian Government trying to regain the initiative through arrests last night and this morning. Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, the editor of Mir Hossein Mousavi's Kalemeh, has been detained.

1010 GMT: The Mousavi "Assassination" Story (The Official Iran Version). Fars News tries to put both the Ashura demonstrations and the death of Mir Hossein Mousavi's nephew into "proper" perspective. As with the death of Neda Agha Soltan in June, the killing of Seyed Ali Mousavi was carried out by specially-trained teams, linked to the 10 "terrorists" slain by Iranian forces. The story will then be taken up by foreign media as proof of the evil of Iran's regime.

0955 GMT: The Mousavi "Assassination" Story. The New York Times has a lengthy and very useful article, written by Robert Worth and Nazila Fathi. In the review of Sunday's events, one passage is striking, especially if the line is taken up by other US media (who have in past have been fond of filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf as a "spokesman" for the Green movement):
Unlike the other protesters reported killed on Sunday, Ali Moussavi [the nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi] appears to have been assassinated in a political gesture aimed at his uncle, according to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an opposition figure based in Paris with close ties to the Moussavi family.

Mr. Moussavi was first run over by a sport utility vehicle outside his home, Mr. Makhmalbaf wrote on his Web site. Five men then emerged from the car, and one of them shot Mr. Moussavi.

0950 GMT: Correct us if we're wrong, but it appears that the reformist site Rah-e-Sabz, an important source for news, has not updated since 0120 GMT (4:50 a.m. in Tehran).

0935 GMT: Non-Violence and Self-Defense. We've posted a provocative analysis by Josh Shahryar of the events of Ashura, "Iranians Are Not Punching Bags".

0930 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz has more on what appears to be a Government raid on the offices of the Assembly of Teachers and Researchers of Qom. Earlier it was reported that Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi, the head of the Assembly, was arrested.

0845 GMT: The Regime (Tries to) Strike Back. Unconfirmed reports that, in addition to the arrest of prominent reformist Ebrahim Yazdi, Iranian authorities have detained Mir Hossein Mousavi's advisors Mohammad Baghriyan and Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad.

0755 GMT: We're still getting amazing video from yesterday. The latest clip --- of heavily-armed security forces pinned back against a wall by protesters --- will go up in two minutes.

0745 GMT: A day to catch up with news, to stand back and assess.

My own impression --- and this is personal, not an "official" EA line --- is that the protests of Ashura were an important marker that the Iranian Government will not stand, at least with its current President and its current political approach. How much farther this goes --- is this now an indication that only sweeping changes in the Iranian system, extending to the authority of the Supreme Leader, will avert even more dramatic showdowns? --- is what I cannot quite grasp.

We've posted two "thinkpieces" setting out the possibilities: late last night, I wrote a "5-Minute, 5-Point Reaction" and this morning we've set out some thoughts in "A Point of No Return?"

The Latest from Iran (7 December): The Marches of 16 Azar

16 AZAR POSTER52150 GMT: To end the day, we've posted a review by Josh Shahryar of the day's events.

2100 GMT: The Assault on Zahra Rahnavard. More on the alleged attack on Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife this afternoon at Tehran University: Persian2English has an English summary.

NEW Iran’s 16 Azar: A Review of the Day’s Events Throughout the Country
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar – 2nd Set (7 December)
NEW Iran’s 16 Azar Protests: An Interim Analysis & Questions for the Green Movement
NEW Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar (7 December)
NEW 16 Azar Opinion: “Iran’s Voice Will Be Heard”
NEW 16 Azar Special: A Letter from Inside Iran
Latest Iran Videos: The Eve of 16 Azar “Allahu Akhbar” and “Death to Dictator” Chants (6 December)
Iran Opinion: “Why The Green Movement Will Prevail”
Latest Iran Videos: The Eve of 16 Azar “Allahu Akhbar” Chants (6 December)
Iran Document: Mousavi Statement on 16 Azar and the Student Movement (6 December)
Iran Document: The Rafsanjani Speech to Students (6 December)
Iran: Routes and Information for 16 Azar (7 December)
Iran’s Critical Moment: 24 Hours to Go

2055 GMT: Britain Leads, Will US Follow? British Foreign Minister David Miliband has taken notice of today's events in a statement:

I share the concern of many people about the use of force to stifle demonstrations on Students' Day. This follows the large scale abuses of human rights that have taken place since the presidential elections on 12 June.

Freedom of speech and freedom of political expression are fundamental values which all governments should respect. We look to the Iranian authorities to up-hold the freedoms of their own citizens, not stifle them.

Will Britain's allies in Washington also issue a declaration of concern over "human rights"?

1935 GMT: Mediawatch. Hat-tip to The New York Times, with reporters Nazila Fathi (from Toronto) and Robert Worth (from Beirut) providing a good overview of the events today.

And a thumbs-down to The Daily Telegraph for unnecessarily provocative "news". Even if the claim that police fired "warning shots" is true, the headline, "Iranian police shoot at unarmed protesters during Tehran demonstrations", is a distortion beyond accuracy and common sense.

1925 GMT: Kalemeh, the website associated with Mir Hossein Mousavi, is reporting that Mousavi's wife Zahra Rahnavard, a faculty member at Tehran University, was physically attacked by a group of unknown women on the campus.

1910 GMT: Press TV Politics. Looks like those at the state outlet who are not so anti-opposition have tinkered with the coverage of today's events. The opening paragraph of the story that we reported earlier (1730 GMT) emphasized that the National Student Day had been "hijacked" by "anti-government demonstrations...foiled thanks to the presence of anti-riot forces".

This is the less provocative update: "Authorities on Monday arrested a number of people who damaged public property as opposition protesters and students staged rallies on Student Day in Iran, reports say."

1900 GMT: Back from an academic break. Thanks to TN McLaughlin for keeping an eye on developments. Just catching up with latest news.

1730 GMT: We've just posted the latest videos from Tabriz and and Najaf Abad universities at our latest video page.

1700 GMT: Scott Lucas "has left the building" for a couple of hours and the site is being watched over by EA's new team member, TN McLaughlin.

1633 GMT: Urgent --- Tavakoli Detention. An EA contact confirms the arrest today of Majid Tavakoli, a leader of the Amir Kabir University student movement. Tavakoli was also arrested and injured in detention in 2007.

1623 GMT: More from an EA source inside Iran:
I'm gonna check the streets, Haft-e Tir, and Ferdowsi before going home!

Right now I am getting this news from the students at the University of Tehran. People are pouring into the streets gradually as they are leaving their work, and more protesters are going to Enghelab Sq. Students leaving the university and ordinary people ARE joining them!

1615 GMT: Must-See Story of Day. It comes from none other than Iranian state media Press TV, who have summarised the significance of 16 Azar:
Students in Iran gathered to commemorate the national Student Day as reports suggest a number of anti-government protesters have attempted to hijack the occasion....

The occasion...provided opposition protesters with an opportunity to stage anti-government demonstrations. However, their efforts were foiled thanks to the presence of anti-riot forces in several parts of the capital....

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that police arrested a number of the rioters who set on fire trash bins. The news agency added that a group of rioters wearing green clothes destroyed the Amir Kabir University's entrance gate on Vali Asr street and attacked the students inside the campus. The rioters, IRNA said, also tore down the security station inside the university. They also threw rocks at a bank on campus. The report added that students in return chanted slogans, calling the rioters "traitors."

We have written Press TV to confirm who and where were the students who protested for the Government today, rather than "hijacking" the occasion. So far, no reply.

1555 GMT: Was Rafsanjani's Daughter at Rally Today? Chatter has persisted throughout the day that Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and a prominent activist, was at a university rally in Tehran. We've posted video which claims to be of Hashemi today.

1545 GMT: Curious. One of the most active sites in the post-election discussion, Revolutionary Road, has disappeared.

1510 GMT: Leaders Who Have Spoken (Kind Of): The one prominent Green Movement figure who is in the media today is Mehdi Karroubi, but it is in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, carried out before 16 Azar. The soundbites, as put out by Agence France Presse, are pretty bland and point towards the theme of "unity":
The solution to arrive at reconciliation is tolerance and acceptance of criticism. We need to work to restore the trust between the authorities and the people. Repression is not at all the solution, neither today nor tomorrow.

Mir Hossein Mousavi's intervention is with an Iranian website, his own Kalemeh, condemning the authorities:
You fight people on the streets, but you are constantly losing your dignity in people’s minds. Even if you silence all the universities, what are you going to do with the society?

1500 GMT: Observations That Make You Go Hmmm.... "No major reformist leader was present during the protests."

1410 GMT: Add Khaje Nasir and possibly Hamedan Universities to the list of locations of protests. Hamedan has been largely free of protests up to now.

One interesting notes: demonstrators in clips in our videos have been waving Iranian flags stripped of the Islamic "coat of arms" in the centre.

1330 GMT: We've just posted a second set of videos of demonstrations from across Iran. Meanwhile, there is confirmation of protests at Azad University in Tehran and Azad University in Arak City.

1250 GMT: Protests in Isfahan confirmed.

1245 GMT: First pictures of large gatherings outside the Universities:




1220 GMT: Protest at Kermanshah University is now confirmed. Heavy clashes near Tehran University, with reports of beatings.

1210 GMT: We've posted an interim analysis from our Mr Smith, asking a couple of important questions about today's protests.

1205 GMT: More from our inside source in Tehran (see 1145 GMT):
All Radios are blocked, and there is no internet connection around University of Tehran.

At the beginning of the Taleghani St. there were - and still are - at least 10 totally BLACK buses and vans, and some vehicles that carried the guard-rails in order to block the streets, but the Buses are not EMPTY! They are full of riot forces! And there is a special van right in front of the eastern gate of the uni full of women commandos to catch the women [protesters.

1200 GMT: A picture has been posted of the demonstration at the Iran University of Science and Technology.

1145 GMT: This in from a source inside Iran:
I've been at University of Tehran since 8:00 this morning and so far there were
only a handful of clashes between the students and security forces.

University of Tehran, UNDER HEAVY CONTROL: The plain cloths forces are in the university and are controlling all gates of the University. The Uni of THR is surrounded by the security forces. They are at all the streets close to the Uni of THR, Enghelab Sq., Qods St., Vesal and Taleghani St.

There are a bunch of at least 50 security forces at every corner of all junctions close to Uni. The Valiasr-Taleghani, Vesal-Taleghani, Enghelab Valiasr Junctions. The Traffic Police doesn’t allow any car to stop even for a second in Valiasr and Taleghani St.

Student of the Uni of THR gathered in front of the Western Gate of the Uni and were chanting "Death to Khameneie and Death to Dictator", where security police attacked them and spread them soon. Uni of THR is under HEAVY control and the Plain Cloths forces with their radios are controlling every gate of the Uni.

1120 GMT: First picture of protest at Elm-o-Sanat University.

1105 GMT: Take That! Al Jazeera English, which has been struggling to report from Iran, just led with video of the Tehran University demonstration and the voiceover, "The Pictures the Government Didn't Want You to See".

1100 GMT: Confirmed. Tear gas used in at least two locations in Tehran.

And pictures are up indicating the size of the gathering at Sharif University.

1055 GMT: Catching Up with Protests. After posting a series of videos, here is our view: Protests in Tehran at Tehran Uni, Amir Kabir University, Sharif University, with clashes at Vali-e Asr. Protests outside Tehran at Mashhad University and Shiraz University, although the latter appears to be relatively small (100s rather than 1000s) at this point.

1015 GMT: This in from an EA correspondent with excellent links inside Iran:

"The number of students is increasing by the minute. There are a great number of plainclothes officers present at this rally. Through raising their hands and giving the victory sign, and by presenting the symbols of the green movement, the students are circulating in and around the university.

The chants are 'Down with the Demagogues', 'Mahmoud the traitor, You have destroyed us and the soil of this country, You have killed the country's youth, God is Great, God is Great…'

There are clashes between students and guards standing outside of the university at Vali-Asr. Some photographers and cameraman are taking pictures and filming in order to identify the students. According to the news, there are buses parked at the Somaie Park Street to transfer the arrested students.

There is an organized group of Basijis moving towards the Vali-asr gate. This group includes plain-clothes officers and a small number of university Basij and has clashed with green students."

1005 GMT: Claimed picture of gathering at Amir Kabir University


0949 GMT: First article from a major US newspaper (as opposed to wire service report) --- Borzou Daragahi in the Los Angeles Times, "Students, security forces face off in Tehran".

0945 GMT: We are treating this report, from Josh Shahryar, as confirmed. Two women have been arrested near Tehran University, while 30 buses have brought security forces to the area.

0940 GMT: Unconfirmed but Important? We are being flooded with reports, from good sources, which we are trying to verify. Here goes:

Students gathering in large numbers at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, possibly clashing with security forces, and at Tehran University. 1000 students at Shiraz University.

Clashes at Enghelab Square near Tehran University. Chants of "Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target".

0935 GMT: We've posted the first videos of the day, the gathering of students at Sharif University in Tehran.

0855 GMT: The First Reliable Snapshot? Rah-e-Sabz, the reformist website, reports that all quiet so far in Tehran with no violence. Cellphones have been cut off.

0845 GMT: Reza Sayah of CNN, from a source: "Pockets of crowds chanting 'God is Great' along Revolution [Enghelab] Ave near Tehran University".

0825 GMT: Reports are coming in of clashes and "beatings" by security forces, both via Twitter and ePersian Radio.

In other post-June marches, there has been a pattern where these reports emerge early in the day. On occasions, they have proven to be true; on others (such as the gathering in front of the Iranian Parliament in June), they have been exaggerated.

So, for now, we are treating all of these as unconfirmed and will not post until we have reliable source for confirmation.

0815 GMT: Report - "School of Veterinary Studies on Gharib Street, Tehran also surrounded and occupied by police"

0755 GMT: Report - sounds of protest being heard from inside Sharif University in Tehran.

0735 GMT: Report that Tabriz University surrounded by security.

0730 GMT: More photos appear to verify the security presence around Tehran University.

0725 GMT: Going to Be a Long Day. With the security clampdown around Tehran University, protest routes have been revised. The first "official" marches will begin about 3 p.m. local time (1130 GMT).

0715 GMT: First photo from today in Tehran, if authentic, verifies the security presence around Tehran University (see 0600 GMT). There are forces on motorcyles and a white screen to prevent people from outside seeing into the University.


0700 GMT: "Modarres Highway and the Abbas Abad and North Mofatteh intersections have been quiet. Motorcyclists and plain-clothes officers can be seen in the surrounding streets."

0635 GMT: Reuters is the first "Western" media outlet to pick up on today's events: "Iranian police surround university to prevent protest".

Reports that G-mail, Ultrasurf, and Freegate are NOT working inside Iran.

0630 GMT: "The situation around Karim Khan Bridge is normal, and no one has so far witnessed the security forces and the anti-riot police in large numbers. However, the presence of plain-clothes officers has been quite noticeable."

0615 GMT: Mediawatch. CNN International TV has run a 60-second overview "Dissent in Iran", with the country "bracing for more student protests" and a Government crack-down. Don't expect much soon from the station, however, as it is struggling for information and sources; its Twitter feed declares, "Monitoring all information from Iran today on possble protests but being very careful as there"s confusion about."

The BBC has issued an open call for information from anyone inside Iran.

Andrew Sullivan, who provided excellent live-blog coverage early in the crisis, has promised to return today, but as he is writing from the US, his "Daily Dish" will swing into action around 1200 GMT.

0600 GMT: We're preparing for the day. A full English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement on 16 Azar and the student movement will soon be posted, there is video of last night's rooftop "Allahu Akhbar" protests, and we have published a letter from an Iranian who recently returned to the country. We also have an analysis of the significance of today's event and an opinion from Iran News Now, "Why the Green Movement Will Prevail".

First reports indicate "all sidewalks around Tehran University occupied by security forces and main gates covered by scaffold"; Sharif University also said to be surrounded by security. There is a report of "Basij militia and plain-clothes officers concentrated around the following streets: Fatemi, Karagar, and Enghelab". Internet traiffic is very slow"