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« Iran Analysis: What Now for the Green Movement? | Main | Iran: Reading Khabar's "Conservative" Attack on Ahmadinejad »

The Latest from Iran (13 February): Re-assessment, Renewal

2125 GMT: Reports have emerged that two more journalists, Mohammad Ghaznavian and Hamid Mafi, have been detained. They join more than 60 others in Iran's prisons.

2120 GMT: We have posted a snap analysis of what appears to be a serious challenge by Khabar Online, the website linked to Ali Larijani, to President Ahmadinejad. If we are on the mark, then in light of this week's suppression of Ayande News, it will be intriguing to see the Government's response to another location of "conservative" criticism.

2025 GMT: We have posted the text of Mehdi Karroubi's first interview after 22 Bahman.

1955 GMT: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has written the academic colleagues of imprisoned Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, "The espionage charges leveled against Dr. Tajbakhsh are groundless. The State Department is using every available diplomatic tool to achieve Dr. Tajbakhsh's release."

Tajbakhsh was jailed for 15 years in October on charges of espionage. Clinton said in her letter that Kian Tajbakhsh has not been allowed to meet with Swiss diplomats, who serve as the United States' diplomatic representatives in Iran, because Iran considers Tajbakhsh an Iranian citizen.

NEW Iran: Reading Khabar’s “Conservative” Attack on Ahmadinejad
NEW Iran: Mehdi Karroubi’s 1st Interview After 22 Bahman (13 February)
NEW Iran: Desperately Seeking Sensible US Comment about 22 Bahman
NEW Iran: “Allahu Akhbar from the Rooftops” — The 2009 Photo of the Year
Iran Video Special (2): Decoding the 22 Bahman Rally in Azadi Square
Iran Video Special (1): The 22 Bahman Attack on Karroubi?
Iran: 22 Bahman’s Reality “No Victory, No Defeat”
Iran Analysis: The Regime’s Pyrrhic Victory
Iran: The Events of 22 Bahman, Seen from Inside Tehran
Iran on 22 Bahman: Ahmadinejad “Wins Ugly” (This Time)
Iran: Greening YouTube — An Interview with Mehdi Saharkhiz
The Latest from Iran (12 February): The Day After 22 Bahman

1940 GMT: A Friday Prayer for All. Neday-e Sabz Azadi reports, via Radio Zamaneh, that the Friday Prayers leader of Zahedan, Molavi Abdolhamid, described the Islamic Republic as a system that gives equal freedom to both pro- and anti-Government groups and allows voices of opposition to be heard: “The people of Iran brought the Revolution to victory to achieve its goals and now they demand the reviewing and realization of those goals.”

1817 GMT: Re-Assessment (cont.). The Los Angeles Times has a wide-ranging, sometimes sprawling review of 22 Bahman. At its heart, however, is an interview with a female journalist in Tehran pondering the next steps for the Green Movement:
Our response was better than getting angry and violent and paying a lot of costs and not gaining anything. I think it was a wise choice to just show the government that we disagree, and not to pay too much of a cost, and not hurry to overthrow the system, and to just consider [the day] as a step in the path that we are on and will continue.

If the government believes that the green movement is finished, they are mistaken. Actually, I don't think that they are that stupid.

1810 GMT: Student activist Vahid Abedini has been released from detention.

1615 GMT: Re-assessing. Setareh Sabety's assessment of the way forward after 22 Bahman, which we featured on Thursday, has now been extended for The Huffington Post.

1610 GMT: More on the Karroubi Attack (see 1452 GMT). The account in Saham News claims that Ali Karroubi, son of Mehdi Karroubi, was taken to Amirolmomenin mosque after his arrest, beaten severely, and threatened with rape.

1600 GMT: Like Rah-e-Sabz, the Green website Tahavol-e-Sabz is on-line on a different address after it was taken down by a cyber-attack on Friday. And Mir Hossein Mousavi's Kalemeh is also now back in operation.

1452 GMT: The 22 Bahman Attack. Fatemeh Karroubi, the wife of Mehdi Karroubi, has written to the Supreme Leader to complain about the physical abuse of her son Ali when he was arrested on 22 Bahman  during an assault on the Karroubi entourage. A picture in Karroubi's Saham News shows a bruised Ali Karroubi.

1432 GMT: On the Labour Front. The Flying Carpet Institute passes on an English translation of a Radio Farda interview with the leader of a recently-formed labor organisation at the Isfahan Steel Factory.

1430 GMT: We've posted a separate entry considering US "expert" reaction to the events of 22 Bahman.

1300 GMT: The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has issued a statement about the events of 22 Bahman.

1145 GMT: And More Clarification. An EA correspondent checks in:
Rah-e-Sabz reports that, contrary to popular perception, Ayande News is run by an ally of Mohsen Rezaei (Secretary of the Expediency Council and Presidential candidate) and not of Hashemi Rafsanjani. The entire editorial team was indeed arrested on 11 February, and the current notice regarding the arrest of the editor-in-chief, Fouad Sadeghi, was placed there because of pressure by the intelligence forces. Rah-e-Sabz speculates that Sadeghi is resolutely opposed to the transfer of Iranian uranium abroad, which is why the Government might have arrested him.

1125 GMT: Important Correction. Ayande News is not operating "as normal" after the reported detention of all of its staff, including editor-in-chief Fouad Sadeghi, just before 22 Bahman (see 0920 GMT). The site has not been updated since Wednesday, when it noted the detentions and suspension of operations.

1025 GMT: Sure, Sure, Whatever. Political posturing all around this morning. Iranian state media bangs out the "self-sufficient" beat: "Iran's nuclear point man Ali Akhbar Salehi says that much to the West's surprise, Tehran will produce nuclear fuel plates within the next few months."

And American not-really-state-media (The New York Times) serves as Obama Administration "get tough" spokesperson:
With tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions hitting new levels, the United States is mounting a diplomatic full-court press in the Middle East, sending four top diplomats, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to confer with Arab and Israeli leaders.

The envoys’ visits to Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were planned separately in recent weeks, but they now have a common purpose, administration officials said: to reassure Iran’s neighbors that the United States will stand firm against Tehran, and to enlist other countries in a global effort to put pressure on the Iranian authorities.

0925 GMT: Toeing the Line. Former Presidential candidate Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri has declared, "Even one foe in the Government is too much."

0920 GMT: Claim of Day. If this is true, it is a huge story. Iran Green Voice is asserting, from sources, that all staff of Ayande News were detained on the night of 22 Bahman. Ayande is not "reformist" but affiliated with Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Ayande is on-line as normal this morning. (see 1125 GMT)

0915 GMT: Free Them. A group of international organizations, journalists, writers, and publishers have written an open letter to the Supreme Leader demanding freedom for at least 60 imprisoned journalists and writers in Iran.

0910 GMT: More Numbers. Ebrahim Nabavi writes, "According to eye-witnesses, the government insists on the fact that four million loudspeakers participated in 22 Bahman."

0845 GMT: The Numbers on 22 Bahman. The Newest Deal, using Google's eye-in-the-sky imagery of Azadi Square on Thursday, offers a concise, effective repudiation to the official claims of "millions" supporting the regime on the day.

0755 GMT: On the International Front. Arms for Iran, sent by a Russian export company,have reportedly been confiscated at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

Following the European Parliament resolution challenging Iran over internal abuses and its nuclear programme, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has sharply condemned human rights violations in Iran and demanded harsher sanctions.

And speculation continues as to why Saeed Jalili, Iran's Secretary of the National Security Council and key figure in nuclear talks, had trip to Moscow cancelled last week.

0740 GMT: We began yesterday by looking for reactions to Thursday's demonstrations, especially political re-alignments within the Iranian regime and political re-assessments within the opposition and Green movements.

We got both.

On the "conservative" side, the fightback against President Ahmadinejad's declared victory came late, but it was clear and strong in the statement of the member of Parliament and Larijani ally Ali Motahhari. His interview, published in the Larijani-allied Khabar Online, was a forthright challenge for "both sides" to acknowledge mistakes. That has been standard rhetoric for Motahhari for weeks; what was distinctive was his specific challenge to the Government to stop banning the press and to release all political prisoners.

Yet it was the re-assessment on the opposition side that was most striking on Friday. The let-down of Thursday slowly gave way to a more balanced reaction. That was supported in part by the emerging evidence --- which we had projected in our analyses late on Thursday and early on Friday --- that the support for the regime on 22 Bahman was not as large as first believed and certainly was not as enthusiastic.

Beyond that, however, was an even more important conclusion: hopes for 22 Bahman had been inflated and the opposition approach to the day had been very, very wrong, but this was a tactical failure, not the demise of the Green movement. Tehran Bureau, which had been striking in its pessimism late Thursday, now features an analysis by Muhammad Sahimi which swings back to long-term determination: "There is a new dawn in the struggle of the Iranian people for democracy and the rule of law. The Green Movement must develop the necessary organization and adjust its tactics dynamically in order to make further progress during this turbulent era."

More importantly than any statement from an organisation on "the outside", activists inside Iran have made that assessment. So to the next phase of this crisis.

Reader Comments (53)

In another thread - nobody answered this question for me.

"Re the high res photo of Azadi Square here

There appears to be MANY MANY people in the main streets leading to the Square (I can imagine millions) – but comparatively very few inside the square itself.

I can imagine why this is so – but who are the people in the roads?? Protestors or regime supporters??


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Prison of journalists is growing!
Nedaye Sabze Azadi reports that all employees of Ayandeh News website were arrested on the night of 22 Bahman. Yesterday and today radical Raja News had reported that Ayandeh preferred to stay silent on the events.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama


I would like to re-post an entry of S. that - I think - didn't get enough attention. If you have access to Google Earth it is worth zooming in on the surrounding streets. And zooming out to see it's only the North of Teheran covered with 'clouds'. Tear gas? So: they were opponents, protesters?

"S says: 11 February 2010 at 23:43

Have you seen the google satellite photo of the protests today?

contrary to what the state TV showed, the Azaadi square at 10:45 am looks very empty! It is possible the regime set a limit to the number of people that could get in the square and then sealed it off.

Also interesting is the clouds from the tear gas (?) north of the square.

All in all, the crowds seemed big in the surrounding routes."

Thanks, S! I stopped counting the busses. There were too many of them...

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

I was at Azadi at 10:45 am. There was an internal gated area with regime supporters - anyone could get into that as long as they submitted to a security check. That is the NW corner of the square where you can see the stage, if you look at the pic. Outside the gate, crowds were around up until the edge of the square - lots of people sitting and picnicking. The streets leading up to the square were not full of Greens, but full of families who were enjoying the day off - getting free balloons, zam zam, etc. The smoke "bombs" went off near to me - I at first thought they were protesters doing some kind of green action. Then I realized that they were smoke signals for the 25 or so paratroopers who were landing from the sky. They landed in the middle of the crowd on specific open areas. Also, contrary to what I've been reading here on EA, I did not hear any green chants during AN's speech. Lots of marg bar everything usual, but not marg bar dictator. Sorry for the downer news, but that's what I saw and heard.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMorad in Tehran


My normal Google Earth does not show the picture dated 11Feb - I have to download the KML file available on the link you quoted to be able to see it in Google Earth.

The highways from the East and North leading to Azadi Square appear to be packed with people - while the highway from the south is packed with buses (and people).

I am trying to find out what was going on - I guess only people on the spot at the time could tell us.


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry


Now I know why AN's government finances are not so good - he has cornered the market in buses!!! Iran must have more government owned buses that any other country in the world??? :)


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Would this do?
Or go to and click on the link below the screen.
Thank you for your description - and explaining the clouds... I hope the experience didn't 'down' you! Stay safe, take care.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr


Yes - I have been able to download the KML file and view the pic in Google Earth.


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Morad in Tehran,

The chant of Marg Br Dictator was coming from NE of Azadi Square. I was listening to it through mobile phone of a person who called from his position on NE of Azadi Sq. Sorry to disappoint you.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Peyke has this video clip under the heading “later do not say or write that there were only 500 to 1000 opposition protesters. This is one of tens of protest sites”

I am beginning to wonder if indeed there were not more protesters than regime supporters across Tehran as well as across Iran. Is it possible that one or two reporters among regime invitees, those reporters who were transported from their hotel to Azadi and were confined to a designated area in Azadi Sq. and were not allowed to speak with people (even to regime supporters), described the event as No Green and every news outlet and blogger picked up that line? I am not suggesting any conspiracy here but unison declaration by news media and bloggers of Green defeat or failure to steal the 22 Bahman show is a bit curious. If it is not sabotage then it may turn out to be either a rush to miscalculation or sloppy reporting, or a bad case of copycatting. If there were indeed more protesters than regime supporter then all who declared 22 Bahman a victory for the regime have done a real disservice to Green Democracy Movement.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


Peyke Iran also reports that the entire staff of Ayande News have been detained.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Megan, your comments were unwarranted. I simply told what I saw and heard. I went out on 22 Bahman expecting to get attacked and perhaps worse. I had nightmares the night before of what was possible, like many of my friends who continually go out on the streets for the protests. Later on that day, like on all earlier protests, I gathered together or spoke to many friends who had went, to assess what had happened. Disappointment was palpable, but there were also strategic discussions of what could be done in the future.

You infer that I would be disappointed at the news that chants against AN really occurred. Who do you think you are and what e-cloud do you live on? Successful social movements are strategic, try to understand what works and what doesn't, and are mercilessly self-critical. Count me out of the cheerleading club, which seems pathetic to many Iranians who are risking their ass out there.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMorad in Tehran

Here are photos of same Google satalite images. The article estimates the crowd at 50,000.

Khamenei needs either new glasses or a new brain. when he said 10,000,000 supporters celebrated his tyranny on 22 Bahman he might have been referring to the $10,000, 000 he added to his billions on that day.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


Thank you --- from where you stood, would you have been able to hear chants on the eastern side of Azadi?


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

What about Qom??

There was much turmoil in Qom at the time of Montazeris death - which I am sure contributed to the big turnout for Ashura. But this itme, I have heard nothing regarding the situation in Qom.


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry


You also misunderstood me. I am not an e-cheerleader as you put it. What I reported was what I had heard myself from a person whom I trust and who has no reason to fabricate news.

I am very glad that you are safe. I do not want those who did not return home or were injured (I heard the pain of two who were injured and their descriptions of their injuries with one very serious) to learn that we are minimizing their courage and their commitment to Green Movement.

I hope you visit this site often and report your experience. If you visit EA often and read our comments you will find out readers of this blog are committed to democracy and freedom in Iran. Some of us may not have physical scars but we have emotional scars.

If you are Green you are among friends and supporters on this site.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


Thank you for your input. We here badly need input from people inside Iran. It is very difficult to know what the real truth is. Not much video or reports have come out for this latest event - and perhaps some of it which has may prove to be manipulated?? It is possible that we here have been seduced by excessive enthusiasm and false reports.

Anyways- the bottom line at this time is that the Regime is still in office - and I suspect are feeling pleased with themselves. It appears that thousands have been arrested. Where does it all go from here?? Perhaps, at this time, the majority of the Iranian people do not in fact want Regime change. I fear that , if that is so, then they will ultimately come to regret it - in a similar way that the German people ultimately came to regret their embrace of the Nazi Regime.. but that is some time away yet.


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

RE 0755 GMT: Following the European Parliament resolution challenging Iran over internal abuses and its nuclear programme, .....

That resolution is really worth skimming through - it's the most complete compilation of the regime's post-election repression and human rights abuses and violations I've seen so far - here's the link for those who missed it:

Something else that might have got lost in the shuffle is the Human Rights Watch report released on 11 February that also documents numerous instances of abuse.

The Islamic Republic at 31
Post-election Abuses Show Serious Human Rights Crisis
February 11, 2010

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


We really did not hear anything about Qom. Qom is not very far from Tehran and it is possibe that many went to Tehran for the event.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

When I first came to this website, I stated that I saw similarities between Iran of 2010 and Germany of 1933. It is my fear that this thought of mine may be true - and lead the entire world to a place that nobody wants to go to. It has been to this place before.

I have been watching Iran since 1979 - and I believe that it's own people have led them to where they are today. It is not entirely their fault - there are reasons for their embrace of the ideology which has led to the current Regime, but embrace it they have. The ones who have now awakened are not enough in number or passion to change the course of the Nation.

I do not believe that this will come to a good ending. It WILL come to an ending - but it will be a bad one . It will not be like the festering sore that exists in another part of the ME, where two peoples fight for one piece of land. This ending will be a climactic one, a definite major clash or a disastrous internal meltdown which will impact heavily certainly on the Iranian people whichever way it goes, and on the rest of the world if it goes another way.

Very negative tonight, I'm afraid


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

First, appreciate you linked to an interesting analysis from Sahimi at Tehran Bureau. Not quite sure what to make of your characterization of "Tehran Bureau" -- as if they are an active, unified player within the green movement, rather than an outside, US PBS sponsored source of news and (often contending) commentary..... among other things.

I presume though you're referring to the commentary of Mohammad Sahimi, and not to Tehran Bureau. Or is it your understanding that Sahimi = TB?

In any case, was struck by Sahimi's ending proclamation that, "a military force always loses a war of attrition to irregular forces--that is, the people." Wish that it might be so re. IRI.

Yet for an "analyst," that sounds a bit more like Mao, Fanon, or Che.... e.g., that the guerrilla always wins. Really?

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHugh III

     A war of attrition might work if it is truly "irregular" don't you think?
     The government is very well prepared for any given holiday. How about holding periodic demonstrations or strikes or both(depending on the day) at <irandom times and held at random locations. Here's how it could be made known at the last minute. Just an example:
     Choose a random source that is public. For example, the UK lotto drawing is held every Wednesday and Saturday" rel="nofollow">LINK . They choose 6 numbers and a bonus number. Each number ranges from 1-49. Suppose you make a list of 49 locations where a demonstration might be held and the list is made public. You make the first lottery number to be the chosen location from the public list. Whether or not to have a demonstration at all will be determined by, for example, whether the bonus number turns out to be 22. When it is not, there is no demonstration. If the number 22 is drawn then the demonstration is called.
     For example, suppose on some given Wednesday the first number drawn is 44 and the bonus number is 22. Everyone is to leave work and demonstrate at location 44.
     And of course, in various ways you could have a public list of hundreds of locations, and other sources of random but known signals.
     Can the government mobilize their forces to any particular location in hours, and be on alert every week with most times being false alarms?
     Just a thought. I don't know.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

To Barry,
Your obsessive reference to the third reich is pointless. You would want to justify a military strike on Iran you wouldn't say otherwise.
If you have really watched this regime since 1979, you should know that it has always used repression against any real dissent. Thousands of Khomenei's allies were killed once they became a liability to him, So there is nothing new there. What has changed is that the regime had to evolve towards full military dictatorship to survive, sowing even more hatred and divisions, and I doubt a vast majority of iranians approves this evolution.
So I would rather compare IRI to a dying star: before collapsing on itself, it becomes a supernova, spending all its remaining energy in a short and violent burst.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGloumdalclitch


Thanks for catching me out on some sloppy language. Sahimi is not all of Tehran Bureau. Beyond that, I am conscious that Tehran Bureau is based outside Iran --- although it should be noted that the PBS support only began last autumn --- so look to activists inside Iran for an even more salient evaluation of where next for the Green movement.


February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Im sure you have seen the satellite photo of Azadi square on Feb 11, can you tell me what the figures were on that day?

here's the link:

Also, what parts of the country were they bused in from

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdanial

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