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Entries in 22 Bahman (44)


Iran Document: Mousavi's Interview "Reform Within the Current Framework" (27 February)

Mir Hossein's interview with Kalemeh, translated by Khordaad 88:

Three weeks has passed since the 22nd of Bahman rally and there have been lots of discussions and comments regarding this rally, what is opinion your about this event?

It is not the first time that the ceremonies of 22nd of Bahman have been held in our country. These ceremonies are in remembrance of rallies in 1979 [and have taken place] in different occasions with more than a million people.  Every year people who admire this revolution participate in these ceremonies where traditional institutions such as Mosques or religious assemblies play an important role in organizing the rally. Usually the ceremonies in each year are influenced by important events of the year and the political atmosphere [in the country]. The 10th presidential election and the events that followed it influenced this year’s rally. The government mobilized [large number of people] public employees, using trains and buses from all across the country by spending large sums of money. This was all to neutralize the impact of presence of green movement.

How was this year’s rally different from previous years?

The differences were due to the events that occurred after the election. Considering the formation of the green movement this year, the rally was significantly affected by how the movement would [choose to] participate in it.  In no other years so many police, military and security forces were deployed in the streets. The violent and savage confrontation particularly vivid in Sadeghiyeh Sq and other locations was unprecedented. In previous years people participated in the rally with any form or dress and shouted any slogan they desired. But this year violent security forces could not bear to see a green shirt worn by a young person or green beads  carried by a clergy. I doubt people would easily forget these confrontations.

In your opinion what was the number of green movement supporters that attended the rallies?

It is hard to come up with an accurate number. But [we] can make estimates based on some observations. One is comparing the weight of the crowd who participated in 25th of Khordaad rally with 22nd of Bahman rally. Another observation is the empty spaces in the Azadi square during the speech and comparing it with previous years that the rallies where more crowded. No explanation has been offered as why the Azadi square was not filed and why the cameras only covered certain areas close to the podium. To hear that people worried about the grass and environment is comical especially for people who had seen attendance of people in the square in previous years. If the system cared to estimate the population weight of green movement, they would not stop them from showing their identities. But [their] fear that this identity is revealed took away a historical opportunity. This is more harmful to the system than the green movement. It is obvious that concealing reality does not eliminate it. And on this specific issue I have no doubt that this widespread confrontation will only spread this identity. In a discussion I had with Mr. Karroubi, we decided to repeat our request for permission to hold a rally according to the Article 27 of the Constitution. The level of participation in [such a rally] will put an end to all rumors. We believe that if the green movement as well as other reformist parties, Great Marjaas and other figures had not invited people, this year [we] would have seen a low participation such that the course of the rally would have been in the same shape as Azadi Square during the speech.

It has been said that bribes and threats played a role in organizing the rallies, and that some have attended these rallies for mundane reasons.

I prefer the term "engineered" rallies. I am against slandering those who disagree with the messages of the Green Movement. Our arrangement was not, and will never be, to view as immoral the actions of those with different opinions. We are all fellow countrymen.  Aside from a few murderers and mobsters, we are all brothers and sisters.  Even the security forces and the military are our brothers, and we know that they are forced to yield to violence.

Of course, I condemn the expense of hefty sums along with the abuse of government facilities and inducing government employees with their job security to organize gatherings. I remember that during wartime, it was a big problem for defense organizations to rent trucks for the transportation of troops until Imam [Khomeini] issued permission to use personal trucks and vehicles with the assurance that the government would pay for all damages. But for the latest rally, [an enormous number] of buses and even trains were used by the military and by security to transport people. Such engineering of the gatherings is not only nothing to be proud of, it also resembles the despotic mentalities of the pre-Revolution governments. During the Shah’s time as well, if a government employee failed to attend a pro-regime rally, he or she would have problems at work. After the 1978 revolution, our system has taken pride in the people taking to the streets themselves. As such, we can only truly take pride in the rallies of 15 June [only three days after the controversial election of 12 June 2009] and those that followed, not in artificially-engineered rallies that may have been instigated by economic obligation, by expenditure, or by a terrifying environment.

Do you and Messrs Karroubi and Khatami consult on the decisions and positions taken?

I am always in touch with these honorable men. With extensive detainments, I feel even stronger about the necessity of direct communication and, thank God, there is good coordination on this front. Although it is for the benefit of the country that, instead of filling prisons, [officials] support the creation of a powerful organizational body that disagrees with the current destructive policies in place but is still within the framework of the system. I think the only way to stop the leaders of social and political activities from leaving the country is through the [support of such a body].

However, as State TV deviates more and more [from the path that leads towards desirable solutions] and persists in one-sided views, closures of newspapers, and detainment of journalists, it seems that establishing a body to gather the actual figures and align things with the Constitution is not going to happen. I still believe [in] the importance of the motto “every citizen is a medium”, along with increased usage of social networks to raise awareness. I believe that there is no alternative for such social networks.

I should add that these difficult conditions have had some benefits as well, alongside all the damage. Among them is the development of self-reliance and the expansion of the Green Movement to countless other social networks.  In this regard, the use of virtual space was miraculous. [The Web] has established itself as a stable and trustworthy structure that, in connecting people and networks, brings them together to collaborate. It is very similar to traditional bazaars where countless stores and booths of varying size are connected, along with mosques and tea houses, to produce an image of one coherent structure, despite the differences in every unit. What is interesting is that on one side of the bazaar you can have very different appetites, opinions, and capital flowing from the other sides, but this variety never constrains its totality or its concept of unity. Instead, [this variety] acts as a point of strength.

The movements in the street have been met with extreme violence. We saw an instance of this during the 22 Bahman rally in Sadeghiyeh Circle [where marchers tried to gather; Mehdi Karroubi's entourage was attacked en route].  Are there other paths we can follow to achieve the very legitimate goals of the Green Movement?

This question is being asked a lot. Our response is that the Green Movement should not forget its goals, just as it should not become a mundane and passive task that needs no strategy. The Green Movement’s goal from the very beginning has been to reform the administration within the current Constitutional framework. The color Green has connected us all. The minimum demand that could surely bring a majority together was a call for the unequivocal execution of the Constitution.

Of course, there were those who wanted to move beyond this demand, but the Green Movement has never deviated from this common goal and, God willing, will never do so in the future. I have repeatedly spoken about the importance of sticking to this demand and, as a member of the Green Movement, have stressed its conservation. We must consider the showings in the streets to be a method with which the Green Movement has attempted to present its goals and intentions to the whole nation and the international community. But, this has not been the only method. Tens of millions of Iranians have objections to the government’s actions to censor, constriction of freedom, oppression, foreign policies that are whimsical and adventurous, destructive economic policies, and spreading of lies and corruption. [The people] demand changes that will allow them to decide their own destiny. They want to change the destiny forced upon them by incompetent officials.

Our nation wants to avoid falling behind in tough regional and international competition. Our nation wants to interact with the international community, not fight it or be hostile towards it, and follow foreign policies that promote growth. Out nation does not want to bury its own agricultural and industrial production under a sea of imported goods, [which has grown] under the careless and irresponsible watch of the Government. Our nation does not want to put the Revolutionary Guards and other semi-governmental organizations in charge of the majority of the country’s projects and economic activities under the privatisation banner. Our nation wants to deal with unemployment and poverty as a religious, Islamic, and national duty.

The deceptive mass advertising effort by the government should not hide the true poverty, unemployment, and inflation affecting the nation. Our nation does not want its teachers and workers to be attacked when asking for their wage, or its women to be attacked while trying to abolish discrimination. Our nation wants the government to allow all voices in society to be heard through the public media. It does not want the media to be monopolized by unjust people who publish libel. The majority of people here like one another. They do not want to be divided into the Party of God and the Party of Devil, nor into humans on one side and dirt and animals on the other.

Our nation does not want its mail, email, SMS, and calls to be under surveillance. Our nation is well-informed and courageous and does not appreciate the effort of a select few to constrict its freedoms and limit its constitutional rights while hypocritically claiming that all of these intrusions  are [actually] desired by the nation. With whatever means possible, the Green Movement must inform the whole nation and members of all sects and groups, that the demands of the nation are the demands of the Green Movement. The Green Movement must publicize these demands.

These demands are completely Islamic, Constitutional, and consistent with religious democracy. They are not anti-religious and, as such, execution, murder or imprisonment cannot be justified [as a means of dealing with them]. Nor are the demands anti-establishment or against the nation. Since they are [legitimate], the people support them. The demand for freedom, human rights, the abolishment of discrimination and tolerance of different opinions shown on street and in the media is not a crime. On the contrary, denying the expression of these demands is a sign of tyranny and a distortion of the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, which succeeded under the slogan of “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic”.

In response to your question, I have to say that the basis for any fundamental change in the direction of reform is to spread awareness. Spreading the seed of awareness within all levels of society is not going to happen with demonstrations alone. However, social gathering is a civil right as well as one of the people’s methods to reach their political, social and cultural ideals. The important point here is that any supporter of the Green Movement [should find] a way to spread awareness, especially among the poor [oppressed]. This should be done on the basis of the saying: “Each Citizen, a Medium”.

However, we must be humble. The goal is not to necessarily see the Green supporters in charge in the end. There is no “I” in Green and, hence, no place for self-interest.  In this way, we will use the streets [to spread awareness] peacefully and lawfully as well as other legal means. As a companion of the Green Movement, I would like to emphasize again that the most effective way to reach victory is to spread national awareness. We want to attain our ideals with the people and by means of the people.

How do you see the role of the establishment, the system and other parties with regards to these changes?

The Green Movement has stood firm in its civil demands. The more people’s awareness of their rights increases, the bigger will be the force behind those demands. This recognition will change people’s lives and that change is the nation’s capital for greater political and social transformation. As a humble member of the Green Movement, I would like to point out to its supporters that our goal is change within our establishment. However, this change does not have to be achieved by anyone specific. We have to remember this ethical principle: to attest righteousness, decency and beauty whether or not it is achieved by us. As a result, although we will stand firm for our demands, it is less costly if the establishment follows the solutions offered by the people and the National Covenant [the Constitution].

I would like to state clearly that any actions by the Government to adjudicate the rights of people and to fully uphold the Constitution will not be seen as a sign of weakness by us. We will not portray these actions as insignificant. On the contrary, they will be a symbol of the power of the Islamic Republic. We would like to see all segments of the establishment pledge free, competitive, and non-selective elections.

We would like to see the Establishment free political prisoners and work on political development as well as the development of the culture of freedom. We would like to see the Establishment encourage diversity within media and protect its freedom. I would like to state clearly that even if the publishing of Kalemeh Sabz [Mousavi’s newspaper] and Etemade Melli [the newspaper of the Etemad Melli Party, whose chairman is Mehdi Karroubi] is harmful, [these newspapers] are less damaging than non-national and foreign media. I know that they [the Establishment] will not accept this; or at least they will not accept this in the current situation.

However I say that having one or more radio and TV channels for the Green movement, will only strengthen the system and help national unity. I personally am worried that these current limitations will force us to fall behind lower-ranking countries in the region. I don’t see another way to protect our nation against the waves that other countries will send towards us, countries which are thinking of their own self-interest. It is absurd to think that we can control these waves by hacking, filtering and jamming satellite signals.

Either way, if the ruling establishment and the different political factions are realistic, they must know that the Green movement was present for 22 Bahman. And, [they must know that] a good future for the country can only be secured by creating unity between people and varying factions of society, and not by calling a significant portion of society “dirt and dust”, “cows and lambs”, and “an insignificant, limited group”.

The life of our prophets and imams show that at no time did they curse or abuse those who opposed their religion. They had a high regard for human dignity, and instead of judging individuals, they always showed great mercy and kindness, in order to show the path of truth. Our people cannot tolerate anti-religious actions being carried out in the name of religion. In the Koran, when the prophet and his followers are mentioned, they are described as being kind and strong in the face of enemies. For certain, both in the time of the prophet and after, not all Muslims had the same degree of faith. Our people greatly understand the different between piety and the seeking of power in the guise of pious clothing. T

his [current] ruling establishment is a clique which strives to rob the very meaning of being Iranian and national solidarity. And this is one of gravest dangers we face today. Our weapon against such devious actions is uniting around our common national and religious aspirations, and relying on those visions which will result in a developed, peace-seeking Iran, throughout the country and throughout the world. It is in such a circumstance that we can hope that just like the years of the holy war [Iran-Iraq war] the entire nation will unite in the face of danger. The nation is defined as all the groups, all ethnicities, all cultures and all differing factions. Those interested in the Green movement take pride in being Iranian, and all the symbols that come with that, and thus, it is quite obvious that we are very suspicious about the changing of the color of our flag, and we see this [this changing of the color] as a clear sign of the lack of concern of this current ruling establishment for our national interests, values, and culture.

In your 17th statement, you gave a number of solutions for solving this current crisis. Do you have any other suggestions besides the ones you’ve given already?

A very important aspect of the 17th statement is that the very acceptance of the existence of a crisis is a part of its solution. At the same time, I do not believe there are any sudden, abrupt solutions out of this current crisis. For example, we cannot engineer an orchestrated demonstration and fool ourselves into believing that everything is over. The important thing is that we now take steps to ensure that the crisis will be solved in the future. Just imagine if today, it was announced that all political prisoners will be freed. Beyond any faction or group, I’m certain that the entire nation will be glad to hear this news. Or, another action that can work to better this environment of fear is kindness towards the people who are simply demanding their rights.

We have seen the effect of calling people dirt and dust [as Ahmadinejad referred in his speech two days after the election]. Let’s speak with the people respectfully for once. In some situations, simply refraining from some inappropriate actions can help improve the national atmosphere. An example is the brutal treatment of people in Sadeghieh Square on 22 Bahman and the attacks on people and some families of martyrs and their children. Who can claim that such shameful actions could help the establishment?

What is more beneficial in solving the current crisis: Mousavi and Khatami joining the ranks of people [in the rally] and showing their unity [with them] in practice or the violent forces pursuing the strategy of “victory by terror” using sticks, knives and chains? Can the Government find a solution by terrorizing people? If using such methods for victory was an achievement, then neither we nor anyone else in the world would be able to condemn Saddam’s attack on Halabja [the Kurdish village in Iraq in 1988]. We wouldn’t have said that he has no mercy, even though it was his own people that he decimated. The footage recently released of the attack on the [Tehran] University dormitories show how partisan attitudes can lead to merciless brutality.

To those who are beating up the students, the children of this nation are even less than animals. Even more devastating is the fact that the officials from all levels of the power hierarchy claim that they do not know who is responsible for these attacks. This is an even worse insult to the intelligence of the students and people. What is interesting about this footage is that even among the security forces, there are some who ask others not to beat the students.

I just wish that the country’s police and security forces saw strength in providing a secure environment for all Iranians, irrespective of their beliefs, and not in suppression and violence. Why was it necessary to pollute Sadeqiyeh Square with pepper gas and other chemical pollutants?

All these actions will stray us farther away from rational solutions out of this crisis. If this crisis is not resolved, the legitimately of the ruling establishment will plummet even faster. The green movement, under any circumstances, must emphasize free and fair elections, elections which are not preceded by a purging process. Just like the freedom of the press, freedom of all political prisoners and putting an end to this fearful security environment are all very important, and we must not only let the ruling establishment, but all the people of our country hear of these solutions.

There are lots of discussions about the relationship between the Green movement and elite social groups [professors, students, artists, etc.]. What is your opinion?

The green movement is a movement that was born out of a number of very important differing groups within society and it is through the interaction it has had with these groups that it has been able to grow. In this regard, for example, I can refer to the letter written by 116 professors at Tarbiat Modarres University. This university is a child of the Revolution, and I, as one of those who served the country in the early days of the revolution, had a role in its formation.

Everyone knows that this university does not have an undergraduate level and the average age of the student is higher than other universities. Many staff and students of that university were very active in the first years of the Revolution. The statement of 116 professors of this university along with the similar statements from other academicians and Islamic Associations of other universities show that how much the Movement is alive and serious across the universities.

I would like to say that you can see the same trend in physicians, teachers, engineers, laborers, women activists, athletes, and artists and other major sectors. A clear and unbiased look at the Fajr Festivals demonstrates where the artists stand as an effective sector of the society. It is said that about a thousand music clips and videos were made about the Green Movement after the election. Many cartoons, posters, and paintings as well as other art works were created in that period. This movement is unique in our cultural history and possibly in world cultures. I believe the powerful connection of the Green Movement with these major sects is the best reason to be hopeful for reaching the ideals of the Movement in the future of our country. Why shouldn’t we be hopeful when millions of students in our country is behind the Green Movement?

How about clerics?

There is a significant number of faithful, aware, and resistant clerics present within the Green movement. Greens must know that stands of a few spiteful and radical clerics are not the opinion of the whole society of the jurists and the clergy. Our noble clergy never call people with slanderous words. They would never support murders, bloodshed, and jailing the innocent. Our noble clergy knows well what Islam says about slanders, tortures, desecrating dignities of others and invading their privacies. Our real clergy can identify [grand] expediencies concerning our national and Islamic resources from [short-sighted] partisan benefits. Our clergy accompanies the universities and is in unity with students and faculty. They understand the importance of this union. We view the clerics in the Green movement as a very important supply of potentials and support [for the movement]. Their presence in the Green movement is connected to the survival of the movement concerning the various methods and means to accuse the Green movement of secular ties and connections to foreign governments.

For this reason, I must tell everyone who has joined the Green movement with hopes of a better Iran in the future that we must be careful not to fall for the propaganda that wants the clergy to lose their trust in the Green movement. Let’s not forget the "Carnivals of month Ahsoura" during 1998 and other similar plots. Opponents of the Green Movement --- not all, but some of them --- do not have any sense of decency and morality.

What is your suggestion regarding the ceremonies of the last Wednesday of the [Iranian New] Year [in mid-March?

The ceremonies of this day commemorate the victory of light over darkness, but the supporters of the Green Path Movement, even though they have extreme respect for religious and national symbols and ceremonies, do not want these ceremonies to be a venue for harassing people. We should especially keep in mind that the movement’s opponents may have plans for trying to defame the Green Movement, as they have tried before. I am sure that the Greens will not take part in any unconventional activities or vandalism. Causing explosions or fires is not in line with the Green Movement’s attitudes, which has been focused on non-violent activities.

Being green is not only determined by your clothes or symbols. Being green is a matter of behavior and morals. If we remember this important principle and the members of the green movement remind each other of it, we can definitely prevent the damage that may be caused by the actions of a few dressed in green.

And the last word?

I wish that someday the situation in our country will be such that all of the posters, paintings, video clips, and other works of art that have been created in the last year could be exhibited without censorship. I know that, hopefully [if God is willing], with hope and the steady progress of the green movement, we shall witness such an exhibition some day, one which expresses our emotions, aspirations, and concern as a nation.

The Latest from Iran (27 February): The Mousavi Interview

2230 GMT: Sneaking Out the News. It appears that the official statement of the Assembly of Experts meeting has been quietly placed on its website. We are reviewing and will have an analysis in the morning.

First impression is that while the statement is effusive about the "leadership and guidance" of the Supreme Leader to get Iran through the post-election crisis, it is not as severe in condemning the "sedition" of the opposition as the alleged statement released by Fars News in mid-week.

2115 GMT: Larijani Watch. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, continuing his Japan tour with a visit to the Peace Memorial Museum in Nagasaki, declared both Tehran's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and the perfidy of the West:
Iran will host an international conference on nuclear disarmament within the next two months....After the bombardment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the US made no change in its policies. Two nuclear bombs of the United States have now increased to tens of thousands.

NEW Iran Analysis: Now It Gets Interesting….
Iran Document: Latest Karroubi Interview “The Shah Didn’t Behave Like This”
Iran: Mousavi, The Regime, & “The Prerequisites of Escalation”
Latest Iran Video: The Rigi “Confession” (25 February)
Iran Analysis: Khamenei’s Not-So-Big Push
Iran Follow-Up: Interpreting the Assembly of Experts “The Certainty of the Uncertain”
The Latest from Iran (26 February): Closing the Door?

2100 GMT: And the Jundullah Beat Goes On. More of the same from Iran's Foreign Ministry on Saturday, via spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast:

Ties between this terrorist group and security services of the so-called advocates of human rights including the US, Britain and certain other countries indicate that they are not honest about their claims of having respect for human rights.

The support of certain so-called human rights advocates for terrorist groups and criminals such as Abdolmalek Rigi has turned into a routine issue. We have always witnessed the support of these countries for terrorist groups to continue their moves in the region.

1720 GMT: Waiting for News on "Earthquake Weapons". Apart from the Mousavi interview, a quiet day inside Iran. Press TV's website has noted the Chilean earthquake and tsunami warning; so far, however, it has not blamed the disaster on US "secret weapons" (as Iran and Venezuela did with Haiti).

1505 GMT: Academic Newsflash. Fars News reports that more than 1000 "experts" have asked for an independent inquiry of the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The article is based on a press conference held by Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth on 19 February.

1455 GMT: Almost all major news outlets now have summaries of the Mousavi interview. A prominent Iranian activist, via Iran News Now, offers anotherabridged version in English that parallels our translation (see 0955 GMT).

1235 GMT: Discovering Mousavi. Agence France Presse and the Los Angeles Times have now noted Mir Hossein Mousavi's interview (see 0955 GMT). Both are picking up on Mousavi's condemnation of the 22 Bahman "engineered" rally by the regime and his call for a "free" march of the Iranian people.

1200 GMT: Big in the Countryside? Peyke Iran claims that the publications, Hemmat and Mowj-Andishe, banned earlier this year are still distributed in Iran's provinces. Both are allegedly linked to President Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

0955 GMT: Mousavi's Interview. Setareh Sabety provides a few important extracts: "Mr. Karroubi and I, in our meeting, decided that we will once again ask for a permit, according to Article 27 of the Constitution, for a march that will put an end to the rumors and accusations."

Referring to 22 Bahman (11 February) as an "engineered" rally, Mousavi says that he does not like "insulting those who do not agree with us" and continues, "We did not suppose that everyone shared our opinions or that those who were not like-minded were bad people. All are our compatriots with the exception of some sabre-wielding thugs and murderers."

Mousavi compares the amount of money and methods used to muster crowds and transport them to Tehran for 22 Bahman --- "these kinds of engineered and mandatory rallies remind us of those used prior to tne 1979 Revolution" --- with the protest of the opposition. "Our movement looks like a traditional bazaar with many kiosks, cafes and store fronts of opinion connected to one another," Mousavi asserts, and he ends with an optimistc question, "When millions of young students are part of this movement, which is unique in our history and perhaps in the history of the world, how can we not have hope for the future?"

0950 GMT: Economy Watch. Seyyed Hossein Hashemi, the head of the Mining Commission, has declared that if Iran continues its present level of imports, "grave problems will arise". He warned in particular of under-investment in the domestic metal and mining industries.

0945 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Summary (A Day Later). Rah-e-Sabz offers a biting commentary on the Friday Prayers of Tehran's Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and other clerics: "Praise of the Assembly Experts and [Jundullah leader Abdolmalek] Rigi's arrest, that's all."

0940 GMT: So Much for Unity. Davoud Ahmadinejad, the brother of the President, pronounced in a speech before Friday Prayers in Isfahan that the National Unity Plan "equals the reconciliation of Yazid with Imam Hossein" (Yazid, in fact, killed Hossein)". He declared, "After all these insults, why should we sit at a table for the 'dialogue of civilizations'? We have nano-technology and we have a nano-quarrel."

0930 GMT: Economy Watch. Member of Parliament and Larijani ally Ahmad Tavakoli, writing in the pro-Larijani Khabar Online, declares that the Government's claims on implementation its subsidy reform plan are ridiculous: "In the current year the administration has not taken an actual step for executing subsidy reform bill. The Government should have requested the permission of the Majlis [Parliament] for amending the bill, but it didn't."

Rah-e-Sabz publishes a long anlaysis by Professor Mohsen Massarrat with "Answers to the Riddle of the Subsidies", especially in the energy sector.

0905 GMT: No doubt what the big story will be this morning. Kalemeh has just posted its interview with Mir Hossein Mousavi (see separate, earlier analysis). The tone is defiant, but the deeper issue will be the substance of Mousavi's call. Defending the opposition over 22 Bahman and calling for a "spread of awareness" is fair enough, but it is the substance of Mousavi's 5 points --- issued in his statement of 1 January --- that gave a boost to political demands. We'll be reading closely to see if and how Mousavi expands that platform.

Elsewhere, Robert Mackey of The New York Times has a thoughtful, in-depth consideration of the regime's propaganda over the capture of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi. He raises the interesting point that the spin on Rigi's "confession" of his contacts with US officials is meant to discredit President Obama's "engagement" launched in his March 2009 Nowruz address to the Iranian people.

Iran: Mousavi, The Regime, & "The Prerequisites of Escalation"

From The Newest Deal:

In his 17th statement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi made five specific points that he deemed necessary to start the political (and national) reconciliation process. The proposal lead to a noticeable uptick in the weeks leading up to 22 Bahman in talk of the need for national "unity" and also garnered much attention from Iranian intellectuals and dissidents. Ultimately, the regime's more radical elements reemerged and silenced the chatter before the security apparatus prevented a strong opposition showing on the revolution's 31st anniversary. But Mousavi's "five points," as they have come to be called, still carry much weight. Generally, they are:

  1. Government accountability for post-election violations

  2. Legislation of new election laws that would safeguard reform-minded candidates from regime's current vetting process

  3. Release of all political prisoners

  4. Freedom of the press and political-neutrality on state-run IRIB television

  5. Freedom to assemble, as guaranteed by the Islamic Republic's constitution

Were these five conditions to be met, the Green movement would arguably have the breathing space it needs to mobilize and begin the long process of transforming Iranian society. For if anything became apparent in the weeks leading up to and after the June election, it was that Iran has undergone an awakening. It has simply been the repression that the above five grievances capture that has prevented the social movement's aspirations from coming to fruition.

Therefore, perhaps an alternative frame can be adopted to view Mousavi's five points. As a recent Tehran Bureau profile wonderfully captured, the reluctant leader of Iran's opposition has matured into a rather shrewd, cautious, and patient figure. While circumstances prevent him from voicing such a sentiment in public, the leader of the Green movement likely recognizes that the regime has reached a point of no return. The tyranny, the executions, the outright fascism -- all of it is, to quote his Mousavi from an interview on the eve of 22 Bahman, an outgrowth of the "revolution's failures" and the "roots of tyranny and dictatorship" that persist in society from the reign of the Shah. These are damning (and yet still very measured) words from one of the Islamic Republic's own founding fathers.

Thus, seeing the regime in this light gives Mousavi's five points new significance. The demands would no longer be five steps the regime must take in order to rescue the country from its current crisis, but rather, five blatant and particularly egregious shortcomings that the regime will inevitably be unwilling to address, and that will thus escalate the conflict between the Greens and the regime. For in the wake of the June coup d'etat, if one thing has become clear it is that those currently in control will never meet any such conditions, even if moderate voices within their camp plead otherwise. Political calculus has been replaced by megalomania, with the possibility of reconciliation falling victim.

And so if these five points are instead five tests that the regime must fail before confrontation with the regime escalates to the next phase, the news emerging this week from the Expediency Council and Assembly of Experts -- both bodies chaired by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani -- is indeed very telling. First, the Council began considering aproposal being pushed by Rafsanjani and Mohsen Rezaei that would take away the Guardian Council's vetting role and instead give it to a new "National Election Committee" of sorts, which would conveniently be under Rafsanjani's supervision in the Expediency Council. (Ironically, the proposal to revise the country's election laws was made to Supreme Leader two years ago, after which he ordered for a new plan to be drawn up).

Make no mistake: this would essentially be a first step in meeting the second condition laid of Mousavi's 17th statement. Were the change to the vetting process be enacted, the Guardian Council would no longer be able to disqualify candidates from running for president or parliament, as it did when it disqualified all but four candidates from running in the 2009 presidential election.

The chances of the plan coming to fruition, however, appear slim. With the regime still reeling from the aftermath of the June elections and still off-balance going forward, it would have no reason to suddenly invite more political opposition in Majlis through freer elections in 2012. Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the ultra-conservative Kayhandaily and someone who is regarded as being close to Khamenei, has already come out on the attack, stating that any propsoal to create such an electoral commission would be "against the Islamic Republic's constitution."

No sooner than the proposal was being discussed, more divisive conservative rhetoric emerged from the other body Rafsanjani chairs, the Assembly of Experts. In a statement reported by Fars News, the Assembly allegedly declared that the regime's patience with the opposition "ended in December after sedition leaders missed numerous chances to repent and return into the gown of the revolution." (Enduring America notes, however, that the statement is missing on the Assembly of Experts' official website and that several prominent members were absent from the Assembly's two-day meeting). Khamenei, for his part, has reiterated the statement's pronouncement in his own statement, saying that those who still do not accept the June presidential election result "would be disqualified from participating in the Islamic system."

The obstacles in revising the regime's election laws aside, the other four points from Mousavi's 17th statement have gone unheeded as well. Saeed Mortazavi, though implicated by Majlis [Iran's Parliament] in the Kahrizak torture-murders, remains a free man. Rather than having political prisoners freed, the country recently saw the greatest wave of arrests sweep dissidents since late June and early July. Meanwhile, state-controlled media remains entirely propagandized while any questions regarding citizens' right to freely assemble were surly answered by the enormous security presence deployed on 22 Bahman.

Not even appearing to consider the proposals, the regime seems bent on acting counter to each of Mousavi's five points. Despite the intentions of some del-soozan, (or "heartbroken" moderate conservatives), any promise for political reconciliation also appears dead. Rather, the crisis seems destined to continue indefinitely, and with neither side refusing to back down, Mousavi's five grievances may come to be prerequisites for the regime to unconditionally reject before the opposition begins to decide on how to take the uprising to the next level.

The Latest from Iran (24 February): Shocks and Erosions

2100 GMT: Law and Order Story of the Week. After the court session for Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of Kayhan, the newspaper's journalist Payam Fazli-Nejad was reportedly "heavily beaten, barely escaping his death", and Ahmadinejad right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai has become "mamnou ol-tasvir" (his photos forbidden) on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

An Iranian activist today is adding that the weapon used on Fazli-Nejad was a "dessert knife".

NEW Latest Iran Video: Rafsanjani’s Daughter is Confronted
NEW Iran Special: Interpreting the Videos of the Tehran Dorm Attacks
Iran Document: Karroubi Statement on 22 Bahman & The Way Forward (22 February)
UPDATED Iran 18-Minute Video: Attack on Tehran University Dormitories (14/15 June 2009)
The Latest from Iran (23 February): Videoing the Attacks

2040 GMT: War on Terror, I Tell You. I'm sure it is entirely coincidental in light of current events --- announcement of arrest of Jundullah leader a week after it occurred, Ahmadinejad declaring that it is Iran not "the West" that is fighting terrorism (1745 GMT), declaration of 100 arrested on 22 Bahman as "terrorists" (1435 GMT) --- but this just in from the Ministry of Intelligence:

Three agents of the [Kurdish] Komala terrorist group who were planning to bomb a factory belonging to the defence ministry in Tehran were identified and arrested....Two foreign made bombs concealed in loudspeakers and three Kalashnikovs (assault rifles) were seized....Due to the occupying presence of the US forces in Iraq and their support of some terrorist groups like Komala, their training, and equipping them with military hardware is carried out by America's intelligence services.

1940 GMT: Urgent --- Assembly of Experts Statement. Fars News reports, and Zamaaneh summarises, that the statement at the end of the two-day Assembly meeting has not only declared support for the Supreme Leader (expected) but declared that the opportunity for the "repent and reform" of opposition leaders has ended (unexpected). This "sedition" against the "intelligence guidance" of Ayatollah Khamenei can no longer be tolerated.

1920 GMT: Is This the Level of Ahmadinejad's Support? Claimed video from Birjand in south Khorasan (eastern Iran) for the President's speech today:


1910 GMT: Defending Against the Video. The Los Angeles Times, drawing from Iranian state media (see 0645 GMT) has a summary of damage control from regime officials:
"Today, police are powerful, popular, courageous and reasonable," Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told police commanders...."Everywhere in the world, even in Europe and America, police strongly confront rioters. No government tolerates insecurity, arson and vandalizing of public properties."....

"All detention centers, interrogation rooms and reformatories have been ordered to install surveillance cameras and monitoring equipment," [Iran's police chief Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam] said. "Police inspectors will regularly visit the detention centers. Police are also setting up a committee to protect civil rights in detention centers."....

"Even when a European city hosts a summit, the city is militarized," said Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, commander of the Tehran Revolutionary Guards. "How can we turn a blind eye to people's security?"

1900 GMT: Political Prisoner News (cont.). Iranian authorities have issued temporary release orders for Ebrahim Yazdi, head of the Freedom Movement of Iran, and Hedayat Aghai, of the Kargozaran Party, today.

The case of Yazdi, who has been released for 10 days, is still being considered; however, Aghai, freed released tomorrow for a week, has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

It is also reported that Feizollah Arabsorkhi, executive member of the Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party, has been sentenced to six years in prison for “activities against national security and propaganda against the regime”.

1850 GMT: Political Prisoner News. The Iranian Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who has been jailed since 2007 for mohareb (war against God). Adnanpour will now serve a 31-year prison term.

1840 GMT: The wife of Mohammad Maleki, the first post-1979 chancellor of Tehran Revolution, has spoken to Radio Farda of her husband's deteriorating health. The 76-year-old Maleki, who was detained in August and charged in September with actions against national security, suffers from prostate cancer.

Ghodsi Mirmoez said her husband sounded very ill the last time they spoke and that she had not been allowed to meet him for more than 20 days. She pleaded, "I wonder if international organizations can do anything for my husband. His physical condition is grave."

1805 GMT: Not Defeated. Writing for Tehran Bureau, Ali Chenar in Tehran reflects on the politics of 22 Bahman and its aftermath and concludes:
Certainly one of the questions about the Green Movement is why it has remained a grassroots movement and not become a political organization. One reason might be that it does not care to become identified with a specific ideology and risk alienating various segments of the society whose support it currently enjoys. In the past eight months it has instead walked a fine line, remaining a popular but amorphous phenomenon, encompassing all political factions and social groups seeking justice. It has avoided intensifying the conflict, avoided pressing for regime change. Rather than evolving, it has maintained a state of entropy. Yet over the past several months, its inclusive nature has helped it sustain its momentum and survive.

What the Green Movement has achieved already is enormous. Many would tell you that the events of the past eight months have permanently changed the social and political landscape. A new era has begun. Those groups critical of the government now map the very fabric of Iranian society. They include both traditional conservatives and secular liberals, progressive students and cautious businessmen, men and women alike. As one observer told this correspondent, "Everyone has realized that everyone else thinks the emperor is naked too."

1745 GMT: It's Our "War on Terror" Now. President Ahmadinejad neatly twinned the "terrorism" and "Iran v. the West" themes in his speech today in Khorasan in eastern Iran. "Why have you [in the US] issued a passport for Rigi if you want to arrest a terrorist?....The Iranian security forces captured Rigi without any bloodshed. It is better for these countries to adopt the Iranian model of campaigning against terrorism."

1435 GMT: The Big "Terrorist" Push. Ahh, here we go. In the same week that Iranian authorities trumpet the capture of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, Revolutionary Guard Commander Hossein Hamadani declares that security forces arrested about 100 members of dissident groups on 11 February. He asserts that they are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and Association of Iranian Monarchists and intended to carry out “bombings and assassinations”.

1355  GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. On a very slow day for news, we have noted the account by blogger and journalist Zhila Baniyaghoub, posted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, about the detention of her husband, "Bahman Amouei", and others in Evin Prison. Amouei is among the hundreds of journalists and activists arrested in the postelection crackdown:
Bahman says he, along with 40 others are imprisoned in a cell less than 20 meters square. He says their whole day is wasted in lines; queuing for the toilet, queuing for the showers, and queuing for the telephone....

Their condition is so harsh that he envies Masud and Ahmad, who got transferred to the Rajai Shahr prison. They would at least be able to spread their legs.

I asked if he read books there. He retorted with another question, "Do you think it's possible to read in such conditions?"

0925 GMT: We've posted a four-minute video, circulating widely on the Internet, and translation of an encounter between Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, and an unidentified group of men.

0910 GMT: Larijani in Japan. No surprise that the Speaker of the Parliament would make headlines in Iranian state media, as he begins his 5-day trip in the Far East, for a nuclear declaration: "Although the Islamic Republic has remained committed to its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the agency does not fulfill its duties about supplying fuel needed for the Tehran research reactor. Based on terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the IAEA has no right to urge Iran to suspend its nuclear activities."

0800 GMT: Full credit to CNN for highlighting the role of social media in disseminating the post-election news about events in Iran, featuring activists such as "OxfordGirl".

Shame, however, that the report closed with a soundbite reduction of the events of 22 Bahman: "while activism on-line was successful in organising the masses and keeping opposition alive, the opposition inside the country either did not plan for or now lacks the power to respond to the Government's crackdown". (No doubt that social media can soon put that right.)

0755 GMT: Firebreak. Amidst the drumbeat in parts of the US media for military action against Tehran (see our entry yesterday on The Washington Post), some Obama Administration officials are holding the line against an attack. Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, repeated yesterday, "I worry a lot about the unintended consequences of any sort of military action. For now, the diplomatic and the economic levers of international power are, and ought to be, the levers first pulled."

0745 GMT: And the (Jundullah) Beat Goes On. Press TV tries once more to drive home the right message, "Iran says it has irrefutable evidence confirming that terrorist ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi had been aided and abetted by the US government before his arrest."

On the side, however, it is interesting how state media's narrative is changing. Initially, Rigi was taken in Dubai as he was awaiting the departure of his plane. Or he was captured in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province. Or he was seized in Pakistan. Now "the leader of the Jundallah terrorist group was on a flight from the United Arab Emirates to Kyrgyzstan when he was tracked down by Iranian security forces on Tuesday".

All especially interesting, in fact, because an EA source continues to report that Rigi was actually detained last week. (Al Jazeera is also reporting this from its sources.)

0645 GMT: At one point on Tuesday it felt as if EA staff were trying to measure an earthquake that had taken place in a remote area. We all had seen and been taken aback by the 18-minute video of the 15 June attack on Tehran University's dormitories, but we did not know how many people inside Iran had viewed or knew of the footage.

We did know, from one of our correspondents with excellent contacts in Iran, that the BBC Persian broadcast which first displayed extracts from the video had been viewed and that those who had seen it had been unsettled and angered. And this morning, we have confirmation that the footage has shaken the political ground: Fars News has posted a long article trying to put the imagery in the "proper" context.

The impact of earthquakes is not necessarily that they bring a collapse, however; they can have longer-term effects by eroding and thus changing the landscape. So Tuesday was also a case of challengers chipping away at the Ahmadinejad Government, even as the regime was trying to manufacture its own earthquake with the propaganda around the capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Baluch insurgent group Jundullah.

While Ministers used press conference to announce that Rigi's detention proved the US-Israel-Europe campaign to terrorise the Islamic Republic into submission, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and his allies in the Assembly of Experts were staking out their limited but important call for changes to Iran's electoral system. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani was away from the main political arena, beginning his five-day trip to Japan (an event which, in itself, deserves attention; what is Larijani hoping to accomplish, not just for his country but for himself?), but his media outlets were not halting their assault on President Ahmadinejad.

And then there were the ripples from Mehdi Karroubi's statement, which made clear that the opposition --- rebuilding, re-assessing --- has not been quieted.

The significance of the Tehran University video is two-fold. On the one hand, it points to rifts within the regime; as Mr Verde has analysed in a separate entry, the vital question, "Who leaked the fotoage?", brings a variety of answers, but all of them point to battles and uncertainties in the Islamic Republic and the inability of the Supreme Leader to resolve them. And on the other hand, its existence --- even if known only to a fraction of the Iranian people at this moment --- is a catalyst for anger and thus renewed determination of those who want justice and responsibility from their Government and system.

And so another day begins. There may not be aftershocks, but there will be more shifts. And it is in the shifts, rather than the drama of earthquakes, that this crisis is playing out.

The Latest from Iran (23 February): Videoing the Attacks

2145 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. An activist reports that Layla Tavasoli and Mohamad Naeimpour of the Freedom Movement of Iran have been released from Evin Prison.

2130 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Another sign of the "conservative" push for changes within the system. The brother of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani, has told Khabar Online that the Expediency Council will seek to remove "ambiguities" in Iran's election law. At the same time, Mohammad Rafsanjani denied that the Expediency Council will seek to remove the Guardian Council's monitoring of elections.

NEW Iran Special: Interpreting the Videos of the Tehran Dorm Attacks
NEW Iran Document: Karroubi Statement on 22 Bahman & The Way Forward (22 February)
UPDATED Iran 18-Minute Video: Attack on Tehran University Dormitories (14/15 June 2009)
New Jersey to Iran (and Back Again): The Activism of Mehdi Saharkhiz
The Latest from Iran (22 February): Karroubi’s Challenge

1840 GMT: WaPo'ed (definition: "declaring an opposition movement dead without evidence and with dubious motives). Just a quick note to folks at The Washington Post: in the past 72 hours, you have distorted a piece by your own Iran correspondent to portray the demise of the Green movement on 22 Bahman and you have run an Associated Press report which declares from thin air:

Opposition forces were left disillusioned Feb. 11 after police and hard-line militiamen snuffed out protest marches to coincide with the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 revolution. Many opposition blogs and Web sites are increasingly questioning whether Mousavi or other pro-reform leaders have run their course.

Today you run not one but two opinion pieces which call for a "war of necessity" with Iran: Anne Applebaum's "Prepare for war with Iran -- in case Israel strikes" and Richard Cohen's pronouncement, "It may be time for Barack Obama, ever the soul of moderation, to borrow a tactic from Richard Nixon and fight crazy with crazy."

I do hope the poor editing/reporting and war whoops are unconnected, because there's the uncomfortable impression that you're trying to shove the opposition into the corner so you can have a bomb-bomb-bomb showdown with Tehran.

1835 GMT: Former President Mohammad Khatami has shown solidarity with a visit to Mehdi Karroubi's son Ali, who was taken away and beaten on 22 Bahman.

1830 GMT: The Tehran Dorm Attacks. We have a double special this evening with Mr Verde analysing the footage of the assault and with the full 18-minute video of the attack.

1750 GMT: Political Prisoner Update. Fereshteh Ghazi offers a useful round-up of news on detainees, "Constant Intimidation; Repeated Charges".

1745 GMT: A Clerical Voice Is Heard Once More. Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has spoken up again about the abuses of the Government: “Power is a tool to defend people’s rights and, if rights cannot be defended based on that power, then that power will lose its legitimacy even if some would try to make up legitimacy for it.”

1740 GMT: Full-Court Press. As we predicted this morning, a big day for the regime's propagandists on the "foreign enemies" front: Press TV has another article on the capture of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, this time highlighting his "US-issued passport".

1735 GMT: Yah, Yah, Whatever. More spinning of rhetorical wheels in the uranium enrichment discussions. Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, has submitted a letter that Iran is “still ready to purchase the fuel it needs for Tehran’s research reactor”. However, if buying is not an option, “Iran is ready to simultaneously exchange the fuel required for the Tehran research reactor with its low-enriched uranium within Iranian territory if the I.A.E.A. lacks the ability to fulfill its duties.”

In other words, Tehran has re-stated the position held since November, so no apparent breakthrough from the recent Turkish mission to Iran.

The Guardian of London has posted a copy of the letter.

1730 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Thanks to Khordaad 88, we've finally posted the English translation of Mehdi Karroubi's Monday statement on 22 Bahman and the way forward for the opposition.

1640 GMT: Going Off-Script (Economy Watch). But, in a break from regularly scheduled progaganda, Press TV has this surprise:
Iran needs to invest $24bn to $30bn per year in its oil industry to reach the 20-year goals of the country the Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says....

[Seifollah] Jashnsaz stressed that Iran needs to attract more foreign investment to keep the oil industry alive. "If we do not make the necessary investment, the harm of the lack of timely investment in the oil industry will be irreversible to the country," he pointed out.

Iran faces an uphill effort to develop its oil and gas reserves because of credit concerns and issues stemming from sanctions backed by Western nations over its peaceful nuclear program.

1630 GMT: No Complications Here. Of course, for Press TV, there are no nuances in today's Rafsanjani statement (see 1335 GMT):
Head of Iran's Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has criticized the head of the UN nuclear watchdog over his recent report on Iran's nuclear energy program.

Speaking at the opening of an Assembly of Experts meeting, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said the recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) repeated the previous US accusations against Iran....Ayatollah Rafsanjani said, “It seems all the Western countries were prepared for and informed about such a report, which they welcomed after its release.”

He further criticized the 'failed' US policies in the Middle East, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

1345 GMT: Before going on academic break, two important points from an EA source:

1. The BBC Persian video of the attacks on Tehran University's dormitories on 15 June is being seen inside Iran, and it is causing much comment and anger.

2. Jundullah Abdolmalek Rigi was captured last week by Iranian forces. Some believe that this morning's regime announcement of Rigi's detention is a reaction to divert attention from the BBC Persian video.

1335 GMT: Non-Surprise of the Day. So Hashemi Rafsanjani launches the two-day Assembly of Experts meeting with this not-very-provocative statement:
Our focal point is clear and that is the constitution, Islam, the principle of the office of the jurisprudent and supreme leadership. There are those who do not recognise these, but that is not the case with the majority of people in our society. It is very important for us to try to safeguard these.

OK, so that Rafsanjani's now-obligatory alignment with the legitimacy of the Supreme Leader. What will be significant is how he uses that to press for changes in the system. Here was a clue: acceptance of
responsibility by those who permitted or carried out post-election abuses:
The events that took place at Kahrizak [with the Supreme Leader's order to close the prison] and the consoling of those who were hurt in these events, or the release of those who were arrested, have been along this axis [of responsibility]. [The Leader] is vigilant that there should be no turmoil.

1330 GMT: Citizen Journalism Alert. It's a convenient coincidence, as we post our special feature on Iran and citizen journalists, that one of the most prominent activists on Twitter has used his/her 50,000th tweet to announce the launch of a new initiative, the Global Freedom Movement.

1200 GMT: Prediction Fulfilled (0645 GMT). Press TV plays out the propaganda line over the arrest of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi:
Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najar told reporters on Tuesday that Rigi was arrested outside the country as he was preparing for a new act of sabotage. He was consequently transferred to Iran.

In a news conference following Rigi's capture Tuesday, Iran's Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi shed light on certain details regarding Rigi's arrest as well as his links with foreign elements.

Moslehi said that Americans utilized an Afghan passport for Rigi, a declaration which adds to already existing evidence on Rigi's links with the US.

Moslehi said that Rigi had contacts with CIA and Mossad and had even met the NATO military chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Afghanistan in April 2008.

According to the minister, Rigi had also contacts with certain EU countries and traveled to them.

1055 GMT: Just before going on an academic break, we have posted a special feature, "In Praise of Citizen Journalists".

1050 GMT: No Comment Necessary. From Reuters:
"No power can harm Iran ... The Iranian nation will chop off the hands from the arm of any attacker from any part of the world," [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech in eastern Khorasan-e Jonubi province.

0935 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Moussavi supporter Mohammad Estaki has been arrested in Isfahan. Journalist Kayvan Samimi has been moved back to solitary confinement in Evin Prison. Mohammadreza Razaghi of the Mousavi campaign and Asghar Khandan have been freed. Sara Tavassoli, daughter of the director of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been released.

0933 GMT: "An Assembly with Eyes Wide Shut". Anticipating the start of the two-day meeting of the Assembly of Experts, Rah-e-Sabz has a lengthy analysis of the divisions between hardliners and moderates in the body.

0900 GMT: Karroubi v. Larijani Watch. Now to the serious news. The pro-Larijani Khabar Online takes Mehdi Karroubi's seriously enough to launch a full attack on it as "destroying the structures" (sakhtar-shekanane) of the Islamic Republic. Khabar then pretends that there's nothing significant at all, as Karroubi's declaration comes 11 days after the downfall of the Greens on 22 Bahman.

0855 GMT: Mars Attacks? It really is a banner day for headlines. The English service of Fars News contributes with "Sunni Scholars: Aliens Seeking to Sow Discord among Muslims".

0735 GMT: Later this morning, we're hoping to get out an analysis of the significance of social media and "citizen journalism" in this conflict. For now, just note (somewhat ironically, since the film was initially shot by the attackers) the impact of BBC Persian and YouTube footage --- shown in a separate EA entry --- of the assault on the Tehran University dormitories on 15 June. As with previous YouTube video, publicised by Twitter and Facebook, the anger over the video is likely to support the resurgence of opposition.

0730 GMT: Over-the-Top Headline of the Day (2). In The Huffington Post, "Iran Invites Israeli Bombers to Visit Its Nuclear Facilities".

0720 GMT: Full marks to Nazila Fathi of The New York Times (and to The Los Angeles Times yesterday) for valuable coverage of the Karroubi statement: "It was clear from Mr. Karroubi’s call for a referendum that he did not expect the government to take it seriously. But his ability even to make such a demand and spread the message over the Internet seemed calculated to frustrate the Iranian authorities."

0715 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has published a letter that it claims is from imprisoned student Seyed Zia Nabavi to the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani. Nabavi, jailed for 15 years, declares, "I have yet to see a document authorizing my arrest and stating the reason.”

The student was detained on 15 June, during the first mass marches after the election. His sentence claims he was conspiring against national security and associating with opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq.

0710 GMT: Over-the-Top Headline of the Day? The New Republic, featuring Abbas Milani's profile of Mir Hossein Mousavi: "Iran Finds Its Nelson Mandela".

0645 GMT: An interesting comparison emerges this morning in news from Iran. On the regime side, the headline is the announcement by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence that the leader of the Baluch insurgent group Jundullah, Abdolmalek Rigi, has been captured in eastern Iran.

I suspect the news will be trumpeted loudly today. Jundullah's suicide bombing last October killed 42 people, including six Revolutionary Guard commanders, and shook up and distracted Iranian security forces. This turns around the political situation: Rigi's detention and the blow to Jundullah will be held up as a symbol of the regime's triumph over foreign-supported threats to the Islamic Republic.

On the opposition side, however, the news about Rigi will be irrelevant. Instead, Mehdi Karroubi's declaration yesterday turns another page in the post-22 Bahman rebuilding of the challenge to the Ahmadinejad Government. Following the two meetings between Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, which have promised significant news, i.e., a plan of action, for the Iranian people, Karroubi's call is doubly significant. It is immediately important because it offers a specific political focus in the demand for a referendum on the Guardian Council. Its wider importance, however, is that it indicates --- despite all the repressive measures and propaganda of the Government --- that the resistance is far from over.

The key here is that the two events don't match up. So while the Government puts out its victory message today, listen but also watch for any Green steps. There are dramatic and significanct sideshows, and then there are main events.