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Entries in 22 Bahman (44)


The Latest from Iran (5 February): Into the Tunnel

2140 GMT: Persian2English reports that more than a thousand relatives of detainees gathered outside Evin Prison to commemorate Arbaeen, the 40th day of mourning after the religious occasion of Ashura. Demonstrators offered prayers and chanted “Allahu Akhbar (God is great)”.

1925 GMT: Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has issued a statement demanding the freeing of all political prisoners before 22 Bahman. Rahnavard, an academic at Tehran University, points to the problems that women have experienced under the regime and praises their passion on issues of freedom and equality.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Claimed Protest in Southern Iran (1 February)
Latest Iran Video: What Does the Iranian Public Really Think? (4 February)
Iran Analysis: The Missing Numbers in the Economy
Iran Analysis: How Turkey Can Break the Nuclear Stalemate
Iran Spam, Spam, Lovely Spam: Mass E-mails, Old Polls, and “Analysis”
The Latest from Iran (4 February): The Relay of Opposition

1830 GMT: Catching Up. Highlighting a story that our readers noted this afternoon, Hassan Rassouli, a deputy of the Baran Foundation, headed by former President Mohammad Khatami, and Abolfazl Ghadiani, a member of central committee of the Mohajedin of Islamic Revolution party, were freed last night on bail.

1815 GMT: Altering the Imam. Rah-e-Sabz reports that Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, has written the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Ezzatollah Zarghami, to complain about the "censoring" of his grandfather's speech. Ayatollah Khomeini's words have allegedly been adjusted to present a more favourable view of the Government in the run-up to the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution.

1730 GMT: That Tehran Friday Prayer. Press TV finally has a summary of Ayatollah Emami Kashani's address looking forward to the 22 Bahman demonstrations. He warned, "Some individuals may try to infiltrate into the lines of people by chanting deviant slogans," but Iranians must be vigilant against “those trying to derail the [Islamic] Revolution's path".

Frankly, I prefer our one-sentence report (1320 GMT).

1500 GMT: Greetings from Beirut. Yesterday we noted that 90 Lebanese intellectuals have issued a statement of support for the opposition in Iran. Persian2English provides a translation:
They tried so hard to destroy our memory and our cities. But you can see today that we shout for freedom (from oppression) from Beirut to Tehran with one voice and one heart....We, the democratically-minded Lebanese people, announce our support for the the movement of the people of Iran for freedom, democracy, and pluralism.

We listen to Tehran today, we understand its language – the language of freedom. We notice the scars on its proud body. It is from this position that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the freedom-loving people and the Green Movement of Iran and its political prisoners against the murderers.

We share your sorrow and we seek the same justice of all human beings, no matter what language they speak.

1320 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayers Summary. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani keeping it real today by repeating over and over: "Hey, protesters, don't ruin 22 Bahman for the rest of us."

1310 GMT: Breaking Cover. This may be the most forceful statement from a British Government official during the post-election crisis. Foreign Minister David Miliband has just posted on his blog:
1 February marked the start of the 10 Days of Dawn, commemorating the return to Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 and the victory of the Islamic Revolution on 11 February. In a blatant attempt to cow the opposition movement ahead of the 31st anniversary of the Revolution, the Iranian regime has resorted to a chilling campaign of threats and intimidation in the form of mass arrests, executions and calls for hangings to quell demonstrations. Reports that nine people will be executed imminently in connection with the post election unrest are utterly deplorable.

This in response to peaceful calls for democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. These are not western prerogatives, but universal rights to which we are all entitled. We in the international community will continue to speak out in defence of those who are killed, arrested or brutalised in the name of free speech and freedom of expression. We have a right to do so, and a duty. The people of Iran have legitimate concerns which their government must address. Such brutality and hateful rhetoric can only serve to further erode whatever remains of the fragile bond of trust between the Iranian regime and its people.

1245 GMT: A Forerunner of 22 Bahman? We have been following reports all morning that protests in Lar, a town of about 70,000 in southern Iran, started on Monday and have been continuing all week. An account of the latest demonstrations has now been posted, and we are putting up the claimed video.

(A report from an activist distances the protest from post-election conflict: it was "apparently caused because part of Lar was attached to a neighboring town by decree".)

1230 GMT: One Who Is Free. Amidst the arrests of journalists (see 0720 GMT), Mahsa Hekmat of Etemaad has been released after 34 days in detention.

1000 GMT: Detaining Families. We have had general reports of the regime arresting family members as well as specific activists. Well, here is apparent confirmation of one case:
Yashar Darolshafa was arrested last night after his home was raided in Tehran. His current whereabouts are unknown. Darolshafa is completing a Master’s degree in social welfare studies at the University of Tehran... [and] is the former secretary of a reformist student organization at the International Qazvin University and a leftist student activist.

Following the arrest of Yashar Darolshafa last night, his mother and his brother were also arrested at their home today.

0945 GMT: On the Labour Front. Iran Labor Report writes about a three-day sit-in strike by 150 workers for the municipality of Andimeshk, in southwest Iran, over unpaid back-wages and health-insurance expenses. One of the strikers set himself on fire in protest and is now recovering in hospital. The article has extracts from a radio interview with one of the protesters.

0900 GMT: The "Siege" of Qoba Mosque. Footage has been posted of claimed damage and injuries after Wednesday's pro-Government rally outside Qoba Mosque in Shiraz:


0805 GMT: Not-Hysterical-At-All Statement of Day. Video of one of our favourite US talking heads, Charles Krauthammer, as he gets agitated about the Iran rocket launch: “If you can put a mouse into space, you can put a nuke in New York, in principle."


0755 GMT: MovieFail. The Fajr Festival, Iran's premiere international gathering for film, has already been beset by withdrawals of leading Iranian and foreign directors. Now it has gotten a satirical thumbs-down from Ayande News, which has presented its own "Golden Barberry" (the equivalent of the "Golden Raspberry" in the US) awards for not-so-glorious movies.

0740 GMT: Beyond Detention to Death. Persian2English, drawing from the International Committee Against Executions, lists 56 political prisoners at risk of execution in Iran.

0730 GMT: Cyber Ups and Downs. The Amir Kabir university student site, a leading source for information in the post-election crisis, is still out of service this morning after a cyber-attack. However, a new Green website, Mizan Khabar, has been launched.

0720 GMT: And On the Detention Front. To back up our initial analysis this morning of the regime's crackdown, we note this from the Committee to Protect Journalists:
Iranian authorities are now holding at least 47 journalists in prison....At least 26 journalists have been jailed in the last two months alone, CPJ found.

The number of jailed journalists is the highest CPJ has recorded in a single country since December 1996, when it documented 78 imprisonments in Turkey.

0715 GMT: On the Economic Front. The Italian company ENI is declaring that it will cease activities in Iran. We are monitoring to see whether this is just an immediate posture, linked to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's loud denunciation of the Iranian Government this week, or a definite plan.

0645 GMT: By the end of Thursday, it seemed --- as it did just before other demonstrations such as the 13 Aban (4 November) and Ashura (27 December) protests --- that Iran (or at least what I could see inside Iran) was going into a tunnel. The regime's dedicated effort to break any possibility of a mass gathering on 22 Bahman (11 February), the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, meant an escalation in the already high level of crackdown, with widespread reports of arrests of activists. Internet communications are now being slowed, if not stopped.

Still, protest is now sufficiently established to ensure at least a flashlight-glimpse. Beyond the assertions in Washington of "What the Iranian People Really Think" (see separate video), we have posted claimed video of a public demonstration in southern Iran on Monday and a workers' strike on Wednesday. There are also the latest official figures on the Iranian economy, which --- perhaps inadvertently, with their gaps as well as the published numbers --- point to serious structural issues and even "decline".

The Latest From Iran (3 February): Picking Up the Pace

2150 GMT: Pep Talks. It is not just Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi talking up 22 Bahman. Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has issued his second declaration in days, reiterating that "mohareb" (enemies of God) are those beating and injuring people bloodily, not peaceful protesters, and asserting that the military should not interfere in politics.

And Nasrullah Torabi, the prominent reformist member of Parliament, has reassured that 22 Bahman is a national holiday and people do not fear the warnings of hardliners.

2140 GMT: Rafsanjani's Children and the Regime. Rah-e-Sabz has an article considering the political and psychological battle around the threat of criminal charges against the children of Hashemi Rafsanjani.

2130 GMT: The Relay of Opposition. Radio Zamaneh has added details of Mehdi Karroubi's denunciation of the Government and call to march on 22 Bahman (see 1100 GMT). Karroubi has called on fellow clerics to “come to the aid of the people...reach[ing out to the people before all these atrocities [of the Government] are attributed to Islam, Shiites and the clergy" and declared that Iranians on 11 February will try to “stop their promising achievements and goals from falling into oblivion, and demand them with fortitude and an aversion of physical and verbal violence”.

Karroubi asserted, "From one side petty flatterers and from another side worthless extremists have closed the arena onto our scholars, thinkers and learned.” In contrast, the common ground for groups in the Green Movement is their demand for “open elections, freedom of the press, unconditional release of all political prisoners, reform of governance and the judiciary as well as respecting citizens’ rights.”

Significantly, given that the "Western" media was distracted earlier today by the Iran rocket launch (see 1325 GMT), CNN's website is now featuring the Karroubi statement.

2125 GMT: Blowing Smoke or Playing for Time? Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi has said that death sentences for nine political prisoners have not been "finalised". Doulatabadi's statement adds to the confusion surrounding conflicting statements between the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, who said he would not be pushed into speeding up executions, and his deputy, Ebrahim Raeesi, who gave assurances that the nine would be killed.

2035 GMT: And Another "Monarchist" Death Sentence. Mehdi Eslamian has been condemned to execution on charges of involvement in a bombing in Shiraz and ties to a monarchist group.

NEW Iran Special: Full Text of Mousavi Answers for 22 Bahman (2 February)
NEW Iran Snap Analysis: “Game-Changers” from Mousavi and Ahmadinejad
Iran Document: The Rallying Call of Mousavi’s 14 Points (2 February)
Iran Letter: Journalist Emadeddin Baghi in Prison
Iran Document: Khatami Statement on Rights and Protests (1 February)
The Latest from Iran (2 February): A Quiet Start to An Unquiet Day

2025 GMT: Another Arrest. Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, a leading human rights activist, member of the Central Council of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, and journalist, has been detained.

2015 GMT: Let Me Tell You About Human Rights. Back from a break to find that the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, is setting the world straight about violations of human rights (when they do it, it's a transgression against humanity; when we do it, it's the rule of law):
Larijani on Wednesday criticized advocates of human rights for mixing up the boundaries of law and order with human rights....

Prisons such as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib along with invasion of Gaza are good examples of human rights violations, he said adding that all should do their best to reveal the anti-human rights nature of such brutal measures.

“We should spare no effort to present theoretical concepts of the Islamic human rights consistent with religious teachings,” he said.

1735 GMT: Well, That's a Relief. General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, has apparently declared that the US will not support a military operation against Iran with this "You Think?" assessment:
It's possible (a military strike) could be used to play to nationalist tendencies. There is certainly a history, in other countries, of fairly autocratic regimes almost creating incidents that inflame nationalist sentiment. So that could be among the many different, second, third, or even fourth order effects (of a strike).

1715 GMT: Teaser of the Day. So Ayande News, the website close to Hashemi Rafsanjani --- the same Rafsanjani whose family has been threatened with trials and jail sentences by Government officials --- runs a story based on a source who says that some want to blame the Revolutionary Guard for arrests. However, the source continues, the Guard aren't behind arrests, "certain Government officials" are.

So at whom is Ayande pointing? President Ahmadinejad? Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi? Mojtaba Khamenei, the son of the Supreme Leader?

Just asking....

1700 GMT: Law and Order Moment of the Day. Peyke Iran reports that amongst the charges against the two women in court today is this threat to national security: wearing "I am Neda" wristbands.

1415 GMT: The Ashura Trial. The Human Rights Activists News Agency has published an account in Persian of today's hearing of 16 defendants.

1400 GMT: Ahmadinejad Takes the Lead? A positive reaction from Iranian state media --- Press TV --- to the President's initiative in reviving "third-party enrichment" outside the country for Iran's uranium:
Russia and Britain said Wednesday that they would welcome Iran's readiness to accept a proposal aimed at ending the standoff over its nuclear program as a "positive sign."

"If Iran is ready to come back to the original agreement we can only welcome it," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters at a Wednesday news conference.

The UK's Foreign Office said in a statement that "if Iran is willing to take up the IAEA's proposed offer, it would be a positive sign of their willingness to engage with the international community on nuclear issues."

1325 GMT: Mediawatch --- Rockets and Trials. As expected, the "Western" media has rushed after the Iranian "rocket launch", dropping entirely the Mousavi story and so far not even noticing the regime's PR effort with the Ashura trial.

There is one notable exception on the trial front: Reuters publishes information from the Fars News account. That leads to a bit of interesting interpretation ("Student Denies Charges", referring to one of the five accused as "enemy of God"/"mohareb") and information (one defendant is from Manchester in the UK and has British nationality).

1300 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Nuke Move. A short but important update from Associated Press:
Iran's foreign minister says Tehran's plan to send its uranium abroad for further enrichment as requested by the U.N. is aimed at building confidence in the country's nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki says swapping low-enriched uranium with uranium enriched by 20 percent is "a formula which could build confidence." He spoke Wednesday in Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says there is room for a diplomatic solution over neighboring Iran's nuclear program.

Mottaki says, "Any threat to the security of Iran amounts to a threat to the security of Turkey."

1. This is the "external" complement to the "internal" (though unacknowledged) reasons for President Ahmadinejad's declaration last night.

2. To follow the nuclear story, keep an eye on Turkey. Ankara is pursuing its regional "strategy in depth", as put forward as Davutoglu, and the moves with Tehran bring not only bilateral advantages but also an enhanced presence in the Middle East and, as a bonus, brownie points with Washington.

3. Now, watch for the reaction within Iran's regime. Will the conservative critics accept the Turkey-Iran manoeuvre or will it be condemned as a giveaway to "the West"?

1210 GMT: Headline of Day. The Independent of London summarises the media's current focus on Tehran: "Iran Fires Mouse,Turtle and Worms into Space".

1110 GMT: On the Economic Front. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting has posted a useful overview by "Mitra Farnik" (the pseudonym of an Iranian writer) of President Ahmadinejad's economic difficulties.

1100 GMT: The Next Leg of the Race. This is almost becoming an opposition relay: Mehdi Karroubi last week, Mohammad Khatami on Monday, Mir Hossein Mousavi yesterday, and now Mehdi Karroubi today. The Facebook page supporting Mousavi has the full text and summarises:
Mehdi Karroubi,...issuing a statement for the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, invited everyone to participate in the Feb 11th (22 Bahman) rallies peacefully and strongly and emphasised, "The constitution is an order that people give to the rulers, and if a ruler does not obey that, then he/she is oppressor and should be removed from power."

1050 GMT: Swallowing Nuclear Poison? An interesting analysis by Jahanshah Javid in of the motives and likely political repercussions of the Ahmadinejad statement on Iran's nuclear negotiations:
Now the Islamic Republic has again swallowed poison (a reference to the famous 1988 quote of Ayatollah Khomeini when he accepted a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq War) in the face of enormous international pressure and domestic upheaval. Suddenly it is bowing to the U.N. after years of insisting that it would never ever ever compromise over its enrichment program.

1040 GMT: On the Economic Front. The head of Bank Melli, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, declares that it is not bankrupt.

1030 GMT: Ahmadinejad, His Allies, and Government Money. Radio Farda reports that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's draft budget increases funds for insitutes close to the President by 143 percent.

One beneficiary is the Ayandeh Rooshan Organization, led by Ahmadinejad's brother-in-law, chief of staff, and close ally Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. It will receive about $120 million if the budget is passed.

Increased funding will also go to the Imam Khomeini think tank, run by Ahmadinejad's "spiritual advisor" Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi.

1020 GMT: The Fight Within the Establishment. While the Mousavi statement holds the political spotlight, the "conservative" challenge to President Ahmadinejad continues.

A latest attack comes from Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, in the pro-Larijani Khabar Online. While firmly defending the Supreme Leader, calling on opposition leaders to be accountable, and blaming the US for stirring unrest, Bahonar criticised the Government's response to protests:
Some forces fulfilled their responsibility on time, but some took hasty measures and others delayed. The sedition imposed heavy expenses on us which will be simply realized in future.

Many officials have neglected daily responsibilities and are engaged in a game designed by the enemy. If we are to put out the fire of sedition in the country, we should not add fuel to it.

Bahonar also attacked on the economic front, "We in the Parliament are still discussing the issue of budget bill. Perhaps the plans for the next year are not that much significant but outside the country the analyses are made that due to the chaos within the country, the government is so troubled that it cannot even complete a bill."

(It should also noted that Khabar Online has just featured a Monday speech by Davoud Ahmadinejad, brother of the President, attacking Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.)

0915 GMT: And For Our Next Showpiece. Today's latest hearing in the trial of 16 Ashura detainees is also being pushed by Iranian state media. The Islamic Republic News Agency is declaring the repentance of one of the defendants, who was misled by Hashemi Rafsanjani's Friday Prayer address in July (Regime to Hashemi: Take note and stay in your box) and by those seeking trouble on Ashura (27 December).

0850 GMT: Quick, Look Over There!

Can you pronounce "diversion"? This morning Iranian state media have been splashing rivers of ink over the launch of a satellite-boosting rocket, the Kavoshgar-3, and President Ahmadinejad is now speaking about it on national television.

No difficulty reading this move: this is the bid for legitimacy at home, trying to draw attention away from conflict and protest just over a week before 22 Bahman. Any power-posturing in the ongoing manoeuvres with the "West" over the nuclear programme and regional influence is secondary to this.

0845 GMT: We have just posted the English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's declaration, in an interview with Kalemeh, yesterday.

Forgive me for dropping journalistic objectivity. Wow. "Game-changer" indeed.

Any media outlet that gets diverted today, by Iran's posturing with the launch of a satellite-boosting rocket or even by President Ahmadinejad's statement on a nuclear deal, and misses the significance of Mousavi's statement needs to get its credentials checked.

0735 GMT: The Call to March. More than 80 Iranian civil rights activists have issued a statement denouncing the "naked violence" of the regime and calling for mass demonstrations on 22 Bahman:
We, the signatories to this statement, invite the wise and courageous people of Iran to demonstrate to the world their demands for justice and liberty with their peaceful and calm presence on the anniversary of the 1979 revolution, once again showing to the dictators that the right-seeking movement of enlightened Iranians will never be decapitated with the blade of violence and terror, and the execution of innocent Iranian youth and the injustice and violence of the coup agents will not leave the slightest impact on the national determination of Iranians to realize the dreams of democracy, human rights, and respect for the human dignity of all Iranian citizens, regardless of their gender, ideology and ethnicity.

0730 GMT: So much for a quiet day yesterday. Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement on Kalemeh emerged as a big boost for the opposition just over a week before 22 Bahman and the marches on the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, and President Ahmadinejad had his own surprise last night with an apparent shift in Iran's position on its nuclear programme. We've got a special snap analysis.

Those important events, however, should not overshadow the steady patter of news as the regime sends out conflicting signals over its tough stance on protest. On the one hand, detainees are now being released each night to the crowd waiting and demonstrating in front of Evin Prison. On the other, there have been more arrests of activists, journalists, and key advisors. Norooz reported last night that Mohammad Davari, the editor-in-chief of Mehdi Karroubi's website Saham News, is still jailed after five months, ostensibly because he cannot post bail.

This morning, another act unfolds as the trial of 16 Ashura detainees, five of whom are charged with mohareb (war against God), resumes.

Best read? The Government is now caught up in some confusion over its approach to detentions, trials, and even executions --- witness the contradictory statements within 48 hours of Saeed Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, and his deputy, Ebrahim Raeesi --- which means that the harsh fist of We Will Arrest, We May Kill You is matched by the open hand of Maybe We Will Let You Have Bail. Overall, if there is a strategy before 22 Bahman, it appears to be letting "smaller fish" go while ensuring that those whom the regime sees as key organisers/mobilisers in the opposition are kept well out of sight.

Iran Special: Full Text of Mousavi Declaration for 22 Bahman (2 February)

Translated by Khordaad 88 and posted on the Facebook page supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi. The Facebook page also has the Persian original of the answers to 10 questions put by Kalemeh:

Q: We are approaching the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. How can the recollection and commemoration of those days benefit us today?

MOUSAVI: First and foremost, I want to congratulate all of our people on the 31st anniversary of our [victory in the] Revolution, particularly the families of our martyrs, our [war] veterans and prisoners of war [with Iraq].

Iran Snap Analysis: “Game-Changers” from Mousavi and Ahmadinejad
Iran Document: The Rallying Call of Mousavi’s 14 Points (2 February)
The Latest From Iran (3 February): Picking Up the Pace

Analyzing the Islamic revolution has not come to an end yet. There have been thousands of books and articles written about it and many still to come. It is interesting that the recent elections and the events following it have brought forth new critiques of the Revolution.

Some of these analyses mainly focus on the similarities between [these events[, some explore the similarities as well as the differences, and others seek the roots of the Green Movement in the Islamic Revolution. In any case, these critiques are very beneficial, particularly for the younger generation who are the main moving force of the Green Movement.

There were many factors that converged in bringing together our people, particularly the marginalized [people], under the brilliant leadership of Imam Khomeini, and led to the [victory of the] Revolution. There is much to say about this, but what I think is particularly relevant to our current situation and would like to mention now, at the beginning of this interview, is that in the 1979 Revolution, all of our people had united and were present in shaping the Revolution. This unity was so strong that it even took over the military bases. The historic picture of the officers of the air force saluting Imam Khomeini on the 8th of February is important in documenting this.

In the days leading to the revolution we didn’t have two groups, a majority and a minority, in the streets. Because the unpopular and dictatorial regime of the Shah had completely lost the roots of its legitimacy , it had no base left, even among the military forces. In those days even specific political groups with very distinct positions lost their differences and, some even reluctantly, joined the masses of millions in asking for “independence, liberty, Islamic Republic”.

Q. Can we say that the fall of the Pahlavi regime was inevitable?

MOUSAVI: The regime had completely lost its legitimacy. Of course, the [regime’s forces] killing civilians on the streets had a lot to do with this. The murders of 17 Shahrivard [8 September 1978] were a defining moment. If we look back, we see that if the Pahlavi regime had not betrayed the achievements of the Constitutional Revolution [which saw the establishment of Parliament], the monarchy would have survived and continued to rule with the role that the Constitution had carved out for it, and with the backing of the people’s vote.

From the beginning, many warnings were given to the Pahlavis regarding [their disregard for the Constitution], and someone like the late [Ayatollah] Modarres sacrificed his life for this goal. But all these warnings and reminders were useless, and within a few years of the Constitutional Revolution, despotic governance had taken over once more, although this time with a modern façade. The relatively long rule of the Pahlavis shows that during the Constitutional Revolution, the roots of despotism were not completely destroyed. And these roots continued to live on, within cultural, social and political structures.

I remember that in those years, one picture which the Shah constantly used to promote himself was a photo of a farmer kissing the Shah’s feet. In his view, this demonstrated the deep love that the people had for him. But of course, wise men saw much more in that photo.

Q. Would you say that the elements which, according to you, reinforce despotic regimes were eliminated with the Islamic Revolution?

MOUSAVI: In the first years of the revolution, people were convinced that it had completely destroyed all of those structures through which despotism and dictatorship could be reinforced. And I was one of the people who believed this. But today, I no longer do.

Today we can identify those very structures which have lead to despotism [in the past]. We can also identify the resistance people have shown against a return to dictatorship. This is the invaluable inheritance of the Islamic Revolution, clearly demonstrated today with the people’s intolerance for deception, lies and corruption. Similarly, the tight control of newspapers and media, the overflowing prisons, and the brutal killing of innocent people who are peacefully requesting their rights all reveal the lingering roots of despotism.

The people are after justice and freedom. Moreover, they are aware that the arrests and executions are politically motivated and unconstitutional. They despise the monarchy but are also aware that people may be condemned to death based on frivolous accusations and without even being subject to a legal trial. [The people know that these executions are only carried out] so that a brutal, ruthless leader of Friday Prayers [Ayatollah Jannati], one who has constantly defended corruption, violence and deception, can applaud them. It matters not to him that there are abundant forced confessions, and he doesn’t care that [those executed] have had nothing to do with the election. For him, what matters is the power of the executions to generate fear. He is ignorant of the power of innocent blood. He doesn’t know that it was the blood of martyrs that caused the Pahlavi regime to collapse.

From the revolution onwards, people have believed in freedom, independence and the Islamic Republic. The courageous resistance and the strength of our people and our soldiers during the eight-year war [with Iraq, 1980-1988] was a sign of the fundamental changes that had taken place in our society. We should remember that parts of our country were lost in the wars, crises and political games created during the time of the shahs.The courageous resistance of our people during the eight-year war ended this vicious cycle. And now, in the courageous, defiant, and Green rows of people who demand their rights, we see a continuum of the very resistance we saw during the war and the 1979 revolution.

However, we can conclude that we were too optimistic at the beginning of the Revolution. We can see today that the government, its newspapers and its national broadcasting network easily lie. Our people can see that in reality, the security and military forces control cases in the judiciary, that the judiciary itself has become an instrument of the security forces.

I believe that the martyrdom of men like [Ayatollah] Beheshti, [Ayatollah] Motahhari, and others during the Islamic Revolution was [a result of] the extended despotic roots of the previous regime that had not been destroyed completely. Therefore, I do not believe that the Islamic Revolution has achieved its goals. The Fajr festival [the 11 days leading to 22 Bahman (11 February)] held each year is, in reality, [a medium for people] to be vigilant and reinforce [their] strength in order to remove the remaining roots of despotism. Today, people are actively present on the scene to pursue justice, freedom and [the right] to rule their own destinies. We should remember that our nation has produced hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the pursuit of these goals.

The Islamic Revolution is the result of the efforts and sacrifices of our great nation. [Even] a slight ignorance and retreat will lead us to a darker dictatorship than before, because dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst kind.On the contrary, [the pursuit of ] knowledge as well as the primary goals of the Islamic Revolution, [which include] serious demands for freedom and justice, will carry us from a dark past to a bright future. This will destroy the remaining residues of dictatorship and pave the way for life in a free [society] where diversity, pluralism, freedom of speech and human dignity are all respected. I believe that the understanding of Islam which encourages calling people goats and is responsible for social divisions is [actually] influenced by pre-revolution dictatorial culture. The right thing for the judiciary to do was to pay attention to these roots and [influences] instead of executing a number of young men and teenagers amid serious rumors regarding the ways in which they were forced to confess.

However, as I mentioned before, we have lost all hope in the judiciary. A system that imprisons an intellectual, freedom-loving and religious son [Alireza Beheshti] of Martyr Beheshti, as well as others like him, sitting him under his father’s photo in the hallways of the courtroom, has moved far away from the ideals defined during the revolution.

Today, the prison cells are occupied with the most sincere and devoted sons of this nation: students, professors and others. [Security forces] are trying to prosecute them with espionage or charges related to financial or sexual misconduct, charges based on expired formulas, while the real criminals and thieves who steal public money are free. Instead of looking for the real spies, they accuse decent religious people. I should take this opportunity to express my regret that all of my advisors who are decent, honest and educated individuals have been arrested and that I am not with them. These days, there is not a [single] night that I don’t think of Imam [Khomeini], Martyr Behesti and others. I whisper to them that what was achieved is far from what they wanted. I did not name any of my advisors in order to pay my respects to all political prisoners. Iran will remember their names and their sacrifices.

Q. Can you give some examples of despotic mentality that are evident in the behavior of officials?

MOUSAVI: One can see the influence of this mentality as well as the remains of the despotic regime alongside the spirit of awareness and freedom everywhere. But perhaps the best example we can observe is the distortion of logical and legal relations between [different] branches in the system. It is very obvious now that Parliament does not have enough sway over the government in matters that fall under its jurisdiction. This is not an argument made solely by those who oppose the Government. Moderate conservatives who are aware also complain about these issues. Not responding to issues raised by the Supreme Audit Court, lack of transparency in oil sales and revenue spending, disregard for the fourth [development] program, destruction of the budget office to avoid audits and reviews, and so on: all are clear examples of a return to the pre-Pahlavi time. There is no need to look too far. A few days ago it was in the media that a minister objected to a question asked by reporters about teachers’ incomes by saying that it is no one’s business how much they earn or if that figure is low. You can hear similar comments from other officials as well as security forces.

Also, while Parliament has [openly] discussed the unprecedented atrocities committed in Kahrizak [Prison], one official says that the issue has been blown out of proportion unnecessarily. Another example given these days is the relationship between the Judiciary and its so-called forces. It is a question of whether the judges make the decisions or the security forces? To what extent can the Judiciary exercise its privileges when, in the Constitution, a great emphasis has been placed on its independence? In my opinion, one of the obvious cases that demonstrates the persistence of a despotic mentality is the injustice done to the [roles of] the Judiciary and the Parliament. Can both divisions exercise all the power bestowed upon them in the Constitution?

The similarities between today’s elections and those held during [the time before the revolution] are another sign. Compare the voting process for Parliamentary elections during the early years of the Revolution with that of today’s to see if we have moved forward or backward.

Q. One of the perennial demands, reflected in the slogans of political parties, is social justice and economic equality in particular. Sometimes, freedom and justice have been interpreted as opposites. With this in mind, is it possible to recognize a specific trend in the Green Movement?

MOUSAVI: In the Constitutional Revolution, people were demanding justice, and from this justice, a desire for freedom was born. In the history of human thought, the desire for justice has always existed, to a point where some scholars and philosophers believe that justice is above all virtues. I do not believe we must choose between justice and freedom. Take a look at our society, you can see that the $850 poverty line and simultaneous existence of inflation and unemployment are limiting the pursuit for freedom.

It is exactly at this point of greed for dominance and repression of people that demands for freedom rise up to show themselves. It is because of declining family budgets that distributing potatoes and welfare economy turns into a means to attract votes [by exploiting the] needs of people. An examination of the country’s current situation shows that the tight grip of demands of justice, especially on economic justice, on demands for political freedom is a necessary connection between the two.

Before revolution, it was a principle that the revolutionary forces and the academic class defended the lower class. It was their honour to be their friend. In my opinion, the point that all of us should have in mind is that of supporting the hard-working class. Of course, [that is] not for the purpose of using them as instruments but with the intention that the movement’s destiny will be tied to the destiny of all the people and especially with the classes who are productive in economy and science: the workers, teachers, and the academics. I regret that the intense political problems resulted in less attention to the lower class of the society, their problems, and their rights. When people’s standard of living improves, the roots of the freedom grow deeper in the society and unity and growth flourishes among people.

Today, those who are responsible for the misery of our people and the backwardness of the nation, and those who are responsible for inflation and unemployment and economic ruin of the country, those who are responsible for closing huge projects and setting us back compared to our neighbors, are misusing this situation by carrying out distorted, deceptive policies like injecting painkillers [into a body]. They are taking the country to the verge of ruin with the way they are handling the justice shares and pensions and the incorrect methods with which Article 44 of the constitution [on privatisation] is carried out. The future of the Fourth Development Plan and the yearly budget is of great concern, especially with the [Government's] incompetence that has resulted in the probability of increased sanctions.

In any case, the underprivileged classes of the society who care for Islamic values potentially have the same demands as the Green Movement. Those who are after a national consensus for change should become more integrated with these classes and also pursue their concerns and demands. Additionally, today we should all follow and be sensitive to economic news and analyses, because the economy has such a determining and crucial role in the fate of our country. These days the quantity of social and economic stories we see in the news [about Iran] is far less than the politics, and people are not informed as much as they should on these issues.

Q. A number of people see the solution to the country’s difficulties in moving beyond the Constitution. In your opinion, is this a real solution to our problems?

A. God willing, all of us entered the arena in the cause of reform, not for the sake of revenge or obtaining power or to destroy things.

Solutions which involve a transition beyond the Constitution are fraught with difficulties. The first of those is that the proponents of such a request do not have the capacity to attract the interest of the majority of our people. Without attracting the interest of the majority and, I have to say, without the creation of a consensus, we should not expect any fundamental or meaningful changes.

For this reason some of the slogans which lean toward moving past the Constitution have been treated with suspicion by the devout and by traditionalist institutions. Unfortunately, it must be said that sometimes these kinds of extremist slogans harm the movement more than the extremism of the authoritarians [who repress the movement].

That you are opposed to superstitious leanings and petrified beliefs and practices is a good thing. That, however, in the middle of battle, a debate is opened up that is incompatible with the religion and faith of the people is something of dubious value.

The next reason why moving beyond the Constitution is problematic is that, with such a solution, we are simply stabbing in the dark. If we lose hold of this connecting cord, the product of the struggles and efforts of past generations, we will be turned into little fragments without any character. Then naturally we would see ordinary people turning away from all this disorder and movement in the dark.

Those who are pursuing aims based on moving from the Constitution may well have control of the loudspeakers today, but in the heart of the society their aims are viewed with deep suspicion. In particular,
alongside the heralds of [those] moving beyond the Constitution are to be found, whether their presence is wanted or not, the repugnant figures of some monarchists who have seized the opportunity to display their hatred for the people and the Revolution. Those who include monarchists in the programmes they announce have apparently forgotten that the people have an extremely good memory. In any case, everyone should expect to be accepted in accordance with his or her weight in society, and not more [than that].

The slogans that are useful today are those which unequivocally help to make clear the aims of the movement, or which attract the sympathy of ordinary people to stand alongside the elites and the middle classes. They have to know that a decisive majority of the people consider 22 Bahman and the Islamic Revolution as belonging to the hundreds of thousands of martyrs [of the revolution and especially the 1980-8 war with Iraq] and that the history and character of our nation is, in city and village, bound to the yesterday of the Revolution by the chain of these martyrs.

Seven months of television programming coming from abroad, which has unfortunately become important because of the restrictions placed on media inside the country and because of the excesses of state television, has had its effects. Yet these effects are too weak for the people to give up the interests of their nation and their religious and historic demands. They [the authorities] should not exploit such a weapon [claims made on foreign channels] as a pretext for accusing people and suppressing the realities of our society.

In my opinion, efforts to push people to chant limited and pre-prepared slogans are an insult to the people. Slogans must well up from the heart of popular movements, in a spontaneous manner, not an autocratic one, in the same way that in 1978/9 the slogan “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic” welled up naturally from people’s hearts.

Q. Is it not true that reliance on the Constitution would close options for the future?

MOUSAVIE: I have said before that the Constitution is not a something that cannot be changed. It has changed before in 1988, and it can change again. By considering what people think and demand and what their collective experience as a nation dictates, we can take steps to improve the constitution. Nevertheless, we must be aware that a good constitution by itself is not the solution. We must move towards a [political] structure that imposes a high cost on those who attempt to disobey or ignore the laws.

I believe that the Islamic Republic is meaningless without the Constitution. In addition to care in safeguarding against violations to the rule of the constitution, we must also consider lack of attention or ignoring of the rules as a violation to the Constitution. It is exactly for this reason that the demand of "unconditional execution of the constitutional rights" is one of the determining demands [of this movement].

Furthermore, for the same [reason], we must remind those who advocate the continuation of the Islamic Republic that if significant parts of the Constitution, especially those articles in the third section [on freedom and other right of people] are ignored, they would start to have consequences for the establishment in the form of other causes. We must all be aware [of this].

Violating the rights of people numerated in the Constitution and refraining from recognition of people as masters of their own destinies could lead to falsification of this invaluable national legacy. For example, those who promote spying and surveillance to such an extent that it is normal are destroying the establishment from its roots. Those who constrain the media and assume an exclusive control over national TV help destroy the pillars of the Islamic Republic.

In the 17th statement [of 1 January] I had alluded to springs [of clear water] that could calm the strong currents and clear the muddy and wavy river if they flow to the river. One of these clear paths is to officially announce that we want to return to the Constitution.

Q. For our last question, please give us your opinion about the rallies and demonstrations.

MOUSAVI: Rallies and nonviolent demonstrations are among the people’s rights. I don’t think that anyone --- men, women, middle-aged people, or seniors --- holds a grudge against the Basij [militia] and the security forces because they are seen as equals. Conflicts break out when these forces stand against a calm movement. You can produce a documentary out of the thousands of photos and video clips from the days of Ashura, as well as the days prior to it, that would demonstrate how these conflicts and tense environments are formed.

My advice to the basij and security forces is to be calm and kind in their treatment. My advice to followers of the Green Movement is to reduce their identifying features, whether they are used to help them stand out a little or a lot.

This movement has grown out of a people and it belongs to them. Everyone should be extremely mindful of beliefs, values, and traditions. But we should never forget our final goal --- to create a developed, independent, free, and united Iran. This goal can only be achieved with the collaboration of all men and women from all layers of society, of all opinions and [political] appetites.

Let me stress this point: when we say Iran, we must take into account all Iranians inside and outside who promote our land with its [ancient] culture and religious beliefs. God willing, the Green Movement will stop at nothing in its moral and nonviolent methods to fight the revival of our nation’s rights. This movement has always benefited from its choice of green: the color of the prophet and his family as well as the symbol of an Islam of love and affinity. The Green Movement respects human dignity, freedom of speech and the people’s right to hold different opinions. It welcomes all movements that aim to promote our nation’s development. It represents the [civil and constitutional] rights of citizens, among which is social justice.

Q. Do you have a representative or a spokesperson outside the country?

MOUSAVI: In the Green Movement, every citizen is a media outlet. But the green path does not have a representative or spokesperson outside the country. This is one of its beauties. Everyone can talk about their ideas and the movement expands within a collaborative environment. As one of the members of the movement, I too will express my comments and suggestions in this environment.

Q. You are sometimes quoted on websites, Facebook, and other online sources. To what extent do you approve these articles?

A. My pieces are written by me and are issued via very few websites. I do not have a personal weblog or anything of that sort. The quotes that you refer to are an inevitable results of virtual environments, and I am not associated with any of them.

The Latest from Iran (2 February): A Quiet Start to An Unquiet Day

2150 GMT: A Final Note. We'll know more tomorrow, after Iranian state media kicks into high gear, but the Ahmadinejad statement on the nuclear talks --- which had effectively gone into the freezer --- could be big. All of a sudden, the move of Iran's uranium stock outside the country is A-OK: "If we allow them to take it, there is no problem. We sign a contract to give 3.5 percent enriched uranium and receive 20 percent enriched one after four or five months."

But --- and watch this, because it will probably be missed by Western media more concerned with the West-Iran dynamic --- Ahmadinejad may have re-opened a fight with Iran's "conservatives" over his nuclear strategy. As the Associated Press notes, "He dismissed concerns by what he called 'colleagues' that the West would not return the uranium."

More tomorrow.....

NEW Iran Document: The Rallying Call of Mousavi’s 14 Points (2 February)
NEW Iran Letter: Journalist Emadeddin Baghi in Prison
NEW Iran Document: Khatami Statement on Rights and Protests (1 February)
Latest Iran Video: Sunday Boxing – French Police v. Iranian Ambassador (31 January)
Iran Football Special: Green Movement Shoots! It Scores!
NEW Latest Iran Video: Foreign Minister Mottaki on Elections & Protests (31 January)
The Latest from Iran (1 February): The Anniversary Begins

2135 GMT: Hamlet and 22 Bahman. Let's close tonight on a high literary note.

Rah-e-Sabz, unsurprisingly, is jabbing away at the Government. For example, it is claiming that the Revolutionary Court has stepped back in its latest bulletin by not connecting the two executions last week to the post-election demonstrations. However, its cheekiest story is a summary of Seyed Hassan Khomeini's supposed comments as he cold-shouldered President Ahmadinejad yesterday: "To be or not to be a protester, that is the question."

2130 GMT: Another release. Journalist Mostafa Izadi, arrested on Ashura, has been freed after 34 days in solitary confinement.

2105 GMT: Missing the Point. Almost all Western media have picked up on one of today's big events, the statement of Mir Hossein Mousavi. Unfortunately, not all have realised the significance of Mousavi's resolute call to arms against the Government of "dictatorship and tyranny" for the rallies on 22 Bahman. The Associated Press mis-reads, and The Washington Post prints the mis-reading without question:
Iran's opposition leader appealed to his supporters and other anti-government activists Tuesday not to overstep the law in pressing for political and social changes....His comments also expose the range of separate and sometimes conflicting aims within the opposition camp.

2100 GMT: Protests and Releases. For the fourth night in a row, hundreds have gathered in front of Evin Prison, and for the fourth night, detainees have been freed. About 20 joined the crowd this evening.

2050 GMT: Correction. Big Correction. That's not just an Ahmadinejad posture (2020 GMT) over the nuclear talks. It appears to be a concession: according to Reuters, the President said, "We have no problem sending our enriched uranium abroad."

2040 GMT: More Invites to the Rally. The reformist Association of Combatant Clergy, calling for an acceptance of people's rule, has asked Iranians to take to the streets on 22 Bahman.

2020 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? Well, it appears that, while Iran heats up, President Ahmadinejad is still playing the international field. First, he used a meeting with the Qatari Crown Prince to strike a pose, “The Westerners cannot bear the thought of security and solidarity among regional countries. They have survived largely by sowing discord and inciting instability in the region.”

Then, perhaps more significantly, Ahmadinejad used an interview on national television tonight to keep open the prospect of a deal on Iran's nuclear programme, offering assurances that a "swap" of 20% uranium for Iran's 3.5% stock inside the country "would be properly and fully implemented".

Ahmadinejad also said that there were discussions for a swap of jailed Iranians for three US citizens detained in August after crossing into Iran from northern Iraq.

2010 GMT: Clerical Challenge. Grand Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani, meeting members of the Islamic Association of Students at Tehran University, has criticised those who “introduce their false interpretation as the religion while seeking a specific political goal”, pointedly turning the regime's charges of "mohareb" against it: “The enemy of God (mohareb) is the one who kills and butchers people, not the protester with empty hands.”

Bayat Zanjani continued, “In the Islamic Republic we say one with a question is free to ask his/her question, he/she should not be called an Enemy of God over a question, criticism, or even protest.” However, “those who use the public podiums for terrorising, threatening, and unfortunately a platform for giving untrue and self-established definitions of the Shia’s teachings, are far from the religion of Mohammad (the Prophet) and Ali (the first Imam of Shi'a) and all they do is to feed their false interpretations to the public.”

1830 GMT: Arrests (cont.). It is reported that Ali Mohammad Eslampour, journalist and chief editor of Navay-e Vaght in Kermanshah, has been arrested.

1720 GMT: Arrests. Rah-e-Sabz reports that four members of Tehran University's Islamic Students Association have been arrested. We published three of the names earlier today (1320 GMT).

1715 GMT: Thanks to an EA correspondent, we're posting the 14 headline points of today's statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi.

1645 GMT: As an EA reader has noted in comments, the website Radio Zameneh is back on-line after a recent cyber-attack.

1637 GMT: You Know the EA All Is Well Trophy Video, Right? Well, today's winner is the Supreme Leader, who tells a group of Tehran University professors: "I'm optimistic. Recent bitter events were the result of ignorance."

1633 GMT: On the Plus Side. We're still waiting for the English translation of the Mousavi statement, but it is now getting attention in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and the BBC.

1630 GMT: Journalistic Idiocy Awards (US Section). It is one of the wonders of American political culture that anyone gives a moment of attention to Daniel Pipes. (I could explain why, but this would take me beyond professional decency.)

So here's a moment of attention to Pipes' latest wisdom before running away: "How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran".

1620 GMT: Journalistic Idiocy Awards (Iran Section). Javan, the newspaper linked to the Revolutionary Guard, claims that the opposition is paying $100 to people to protest on 11 February.

1340 GMT: Worst Prediction for 22 Bahman. Retired US Navy Captain and "Fox News military analyst" Chuck Nash says, with a straight face, that President Ahmadinejad may test a nuclear device on 11 February.

1335 GMT: Interesting Clues in the "West". Lindsay Hilsum, of Britain's Channel 4, offers some interesting teasers on US and European policy from a gathering at Chatham House in London:

Last night, I went to a discussion on Iran. “Chatham House rules” mean I can’t quote anyone who was there, but the highlights are worth noting.
Someone who is well in with the Obama administration told us that when the president started his “hand outstretched” policy towards Iran it was “100 per cent about the nuclear and external policy and zero per cent about Iran’s internal issues.”

After 12 June, and the turbulent post-election crisis, there’s been some recalibration – he’d now put it at 70/30....

Another [source] (close to a European government) said: “We must ensure we do no harm. This is not our moment, and not our movement. But we must ensure the opposition is not subjugated to the nuclear issue or business interests.”

1330 GMT: Slowing Down the Net. I'll leave others to speculate on significance of this report: Internet traffic for some servers in Iran has ceased; for others it is reduced.

1320 GMT: Arrests and Sentences. Reports --- student activists Vahid Abedini, Navid Abedini, and Esmail Izadi have been detained after their houses were raided. Journalist Niloofar Laripour has been arrested after being summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence.

Journalist Keyvan Samimi has been sentenced to six years in prison, with a lifetime ban on political activity.

1315 GMT: We're Going to Get You, Hashemi. That threat against Hashemi Rafsanjani, sending the files of his children to court (see 0945 GMT)? It came from the same man who declared today We Will Kill the Detainees (1025 GMT), deputy head of Iran's judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi.

1310 GMT: It is reported that the second court session for the 16 Ashura protesters, whose trial began on Saturday, will be held Wednesday. Five of the defendants, including two women, are charged with "mohareb" (war against God).

1025 GMT: Battling over Executions. Hours after the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, said he would not be pushed by "hard-liners" into quicker executions and would follow the legal process, his deputy has reportedly assured, We're Going to Kill Them.

Fars quotes Ebrahim Raeesi in a meeting in Qom, "The two people executed (Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour) and another nine who will soon be executed were definitely arrested in recent riots and each was linked with counter-revolutionary movements. They had participated in riots with the aim of creating disunity and toppling the system."

1020 GMT: Mohammad Ali Rafi'i, a member of political department of the Islamic Students Organization, has reportedly been abducted when leaving Tehran University. Peyke Iran also claims pressure on detained students to confess on television.

0945 GMT: Pressuring Rafsanjani. It appears the regime just does not trust Hashemi Rafsanjani enough to let him be: files on the investigation of his children, including Mehdi Hashemi, have been presented to a Tehran court.

(There is a hot Internet rumour that at least one of Rafsanjani's children will be marching on 22 Bahman. Rafsanjani's daughter, Faezeh Hashemi, has been involved in demonstrations since June.)

0940 GMT: Kayhan London (not to be confused with the "hard-line" Kayhan in Tehran) has now come out behind the leadership of the Green movement, while stressing it contains other political currents, and defended Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi against the attacks of those who condemn them of loyalty to the Islamic Republic.

0935 GMT: Ruining the Revolution. Agence France Presse and Reuters have both picked up on Mir Hossein Mousavi's declaration (see 0710 GMT), and it loses none of its force in translation. Mousavi claims the goals of the 1979 Revolution have not been fulfilled because the "roots of tyranny and dictatorship" still exist; Mousavi no longer believes "that the revolution had removed all those structures which could lead to totalitarianism and dictatorship":
Today, one can identify both elements and foundations which produce dictatorship as well as resistance against returning to this dictatorship Stifling the media, filling the prisons and brutally killing people who peacefully demand their rights in the streets indicate the roots of tyranny and dictatorship remain from the monarchist era... I don't believe that the revolution achieved its goals.

0825 GMT: Yahoo Keeps Mowj-e-Sabz Off-Line? In December, Mowj-e-Sabz, the key Green movement website, was knocked off-line by a cyber-attack. Those behind the site said at the time that they were suspending operations but intended to resume their journalism.

This now in from blogger Ethan Zuckerman:
I’ve been in regular contact with the administrators of Mowjcamp as they’ve tried to regain control of their site. For six weeks, they’ve been getting the runaround from Yahoo! (where they’d originally registered the domain names) and Moniker (where the hackers moved control of the domain name). Yahoo has been informed that the site was illegally moved by hackers who managed to access a Yahoo Mail account and authorize a transfer to Moniker – they’ve told the site administrators that there’s nothing they can do, and the problem’s in Moniker’s hands. Moniker, in turn, tells the administrators that they’ve responded to Yahoo, which will resolve their problem. In the meantime, the site continues to be inaccessible from the URLs by which it is most widely known.

0805 GMT: With the help of EA readers, we have posted an English translation of a letter we have received from Tehran, "Journalist Emadeddin Baghi in Prison".

0745 GMT: "A New Kind of Revolution". Setareh Sabety in
[This] is the first revolution that does not need leadership nor ideology because it is fueled by a basic, unrelenting need for freedom and justice that is so strong it is self-correcting and self-propelling! This is not just a civil rights movement; this is not merely a reform movement. This is a new kind of Revolution.

0710 GMT: Quiet No Longer. Today's first big move has come from Mir Hossein Mousavi, answering 10 questions on his website Kalemeh. Among his forthright declarations: "We have lost complete hope in the judiciary system"; "Resistance to dictatorship is the precious heritage of the Islamic Revolution"; "People have always wanted justice; the demand for freedom is born of human thought".

0705 GMT: On the Economic Front. Iran's oil and gas revenue fell more than 45 percent in the first half of the current Iranian year (March-September 2009) compared to the same period in 2008.

0700 GMT: Looking for the Positive. About 1000 family members of detainees and supporters gathered again in front of Evin Prison last night. Almost 30 prisoners were reportedly released.

Amongst those freed was Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji, released on bail after his detention last month.

0650 GMT: And Those Who Have Been "Disappeared". Photographer Mehraneh Atashi and her husband Madjid Ghaffari were arrested on 12 January and detained, apparently in solitary confinement in ward 209 of Evin Prison. Authorities have released no information about charges against them. They have had no access to a lawyer, no visits from their family, and no contact apart from a brief telephone call to say they had been arrested.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has raised the situation of Atashi and Ghaffari as a case typical of "hundreds" of Iranians in the post-election conflict.

0640 GMT: The Detentions. Fereshteh Ghazi complements our morning analysis of "threats and arrests" with a summary of the current situation of political prisoners, focusing on the attempt to break advisors to Mir Hossein Mousavi.

0630 GMT: Three prominent Iranian authors have been arrested: Reza KhandanOmid Montazeri, and Alireza Saqafi.

0620 GMT: So the big news from the 1st day of the commemorations of the 1979 Islamic Revolution? There was no big news.

Perhaps the most notable development was former President Mohammad Khatami joining the calls, albeit implicitly, for people to rally on 22 Bahman on 11 February (see separate entry). On the regime side, however, there were no big declarations, no mass gatherings, merely a rather muted ceremony at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery and President Ahmadinejad's strained appearance at the Khomeini memorial.

Government actions were more of the "negative" kind, with scattered threats and arrests. The strategy of trying to wipe out public protests continues, but even that appears to be filled with tension as the big day approaches.

22 Bahman is a week on Thursday.
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